Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members were once again in court on Friday in the 8th session of the 20th hearing of the Kobane Case.
Incarcerated on terrorism charges, the pro-Kurdish HDP’s former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş stated that the only evidence in the Kobane Case is the statements of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and that the court is trying to perpetuate this plot until the upcoming 2023 elections.
Demirtaş said in his defence that MPs could not be held responsible for expressions of their political opinions due to their immunities and that the place of expression of these opinions could not be limited to the parliament.
Demirtaş underlined that parliamentary immunity is not taken into account in the proceedings against the HDP.
The former HDP co-chair also mentioned the lawsuit for closure of the HDP, saying, “It seems that our party HDP will be closed, treasury aid will be blocked […] But the ideas and struggle of HDP will be re-emerged with this election.”
The Constitutional Court in June 2021 accepted an indictment that demands the closure of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as well as a political ban for nearly 500 HDP members, including high-profile figures over alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The chief public prosecutor of Turkey’s Court of Appeals will address the country’s Constitutional Court on 10 January 2023 in relation to the case that seeks the closure of the country’s pro-Kurdish party.
Better known as the Kobane trial, the lawsuit was brought against 108 HDP members due to their call to protest against the ISIS siege of Kobane, the Kurdish-majority province in northeast Syria and their call for solidarity with the people of Kobane.
Based on statements on their social media posts, HDP party members are accused of initiating the events that took place on 6-7 October 2014 in Turkey’s largest cities and those heavily populated by Kurds, resulting in 46 deaths.
While the investigation into the protests began in 2014, the indictment was presented in December 2020 and the trial started in April 2021.
Among the defendants are Figen Yüksekdağ, HDP’s Co-Chair at that time, and Central Executive Board (MYK) members and administrators, such as Gülten Kışanak, Sebahat Tuncel, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Ayhan Bilgen, Ayla Akat Ata, Emine Ayna, Ali Ürküt and Alp Aydınörs.
On 20 May 2016, the Turkish National Assembly abolished the legislative immunities of the HDP deputies. They were then arrested in a raid on their homes on 4 November 2016.
The abolition of their immunity and the following arrests were similar to the People’s Labour Party (HEP) members’ 1993 expulsion from the National Assembly, who were the first representatives of the Kurdish political movement in Turkey under the parliament.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office prepared a bill of indictment of 108 HDP members on 30 December 2020, citing the HDP’s posts on social media, which is claimed to have initiated the process leading to the Kobane events. The Ankara 22nd Heavy Penal Court accepted the indictment on 7 January 2021. On 26 April, the trial began against 108 HDP politicians, 20 of whom were imprisoned.
The Kobane case file consists of a bill of indictment of 3,530 pages. In the indictment, the prosecutor seeks aggravated life imprisonment 38 times for the defendants on 29 different charges, including “murder”, “looting”, “injuring a public official with a gun”, “flag burning”, and “disruption of the national unity and the integrity of the country”.