Turkish-Kurdish opposition politician at court again
Human rights activists demand support for Selahattin Demirtas (Press Release)
The brother of Kurdish opposition politician Selahattin Demirtas, who lives in Germany, is calling for support from German politicians in order to free his brother, who has been detained in Turkey since November 3, 2016. "Many members of the German Bundestag and other politicians in Germany know my brother personally. Selahattin has now been detained for almost three years – although he is innocent. His wife, his two daughters, and l expect more support on the part of the German politicians," stated Süleyman Demirtas in an interview with Kamal Sido, Middle East Consultant of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP).
"The Federal Government and the members of the German Bundestag should demand NATO partner Turkey to release Demirtas and other political prisoners," Sido emphasized. "The NATO states and the EU can no longer remain silent on Erdogan's anti-Kurdish policy. The STP expects the German Federal Government, the EU, and the United States to do something against Erdogan's arbitrary measures."
On September 2, 2019, Selahattin Demirtas will be heard by Turkish judges. He is currently kept detained in a high security cell in Edirne, in the far west of Turkey, far away from his birthplace in the Asian part of the country. The Turkish judiciary accuses him of "terror propaganda" in more than 100 cases – whereas Demirtas' campaigns are merely to be seen as calls for freedom of belief for Christians, Alevis, and Yazidis. He is fighting for linguistic, political, and cultural equality for the approximately 15 million Kurds and other smaller ethnic groups in Turkey.
The pro-Kurdish HDP party, of which Demirtas is a member, and the entire democracy movement in Turkey and Kurdistan have always advocated political dialogue between the Turkish government and the Kurds. "The Erdogan government, however, relies on authoritarian power, suppresses the Kurds, and persecutes the political opposition," Sido criticized. In southeastern Turkey, Kurdish demonstrators are protesting against the decision of the interior ministry to depose the democratically elected mayors of the majority Kurdish cities of Diyarbakir, Mardin, and Van, and to put them under forced administration. The town hall administrations were taken over by the governors, and the elected council members are no longer allowed to enter the town halls. The mayors Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli (Diyarbakir), Ahmed Türk (Mardin), and Bedia Özgökce-Ertan (Van) had been elected by an overwhelming majority on March 31, 2019.
Header image: STP 2019