Following legal attempts to permanently ban the 2nd largest opposition party in Turkey, People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and the stripping of the MP’s status of the HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, there are recent developments in Turkey that are deeply concerning.
After a prosecutor filed a case accusing the HDP Deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu of “terrorism propaganda” over some retweets regarding peace negotiations on Twitter in 2016, Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his parliamentary status.
HDP MPs issued a statement that they did not “recognise the unlawful decision” holding a sit-in protest at the Turkish parliament as Gergerlioğlu announced that he would not leave the Assembly.
The Constitutional Court then rejected Gergerlioğlu’s appeal and he was detained in an early morning operation inside the parliament. With hundreds of police joining the operation against the elected representative of the country, Gergerlioğlu was forcibly frogmarched during the operation and he was taken out of the parliament on 21 March without having the opportunity to finish his pre-prayer ablutions or to wear his shoes.
Gergerlioğlu was detained after he was targeted by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.
HDP MP subjected to ill-treatment in custody
After being released, a Turkish court gave Gergerlioğlu 10 days to “report to a police station” to be sent to prison, but he continued his civil disobedience action at his home until the police raided his home and detained him a second time, this time to be sent to prison on 2 April.
A police chief at the department of police was among those police officers who raided Gergerlioğlu’s home. This police officer was Abdülkadir Yılmaztürk, who has been infamous for his acts of torture that were revealed by the reports of Gergerlioğlu, who has been a prominent human rights defender, focusing on torture cases as part of his struggle for human rights as an HDP MP.
Gergerlioğlu had to have an angina operation before being sent to the Sincan Type 2 Type-F Prison in Ankara.
Gergerlioğlu also stated that he was subjected to insults and threats from the police officers during his treatment at the hospital.
His lawyer shared a medical report, that documented signs of ill-treatment on Gergerlioğlu’s body.
The court’s final ruling devestated Şenyaşar family’s search for justice
In another case, the Şenyaşar family case is another example of how Turkey’s callous treatment towards Kurdish people is rubber stamped by the authorities.
A Justice and Development Party (AKP) MP İbrahim Halil Yıldız’s guards and relatives openly murdered Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar and his sons Adil and Celal during the June 2018 election campaign in Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa (Riha).
After an incident that escalated to an armed clash in their shop the three wounded members of the Şenyaşar family were taken to hospital and were subsequently followed and killed in the local hospital by Enver Yıldız, brother of AKP deputy İbrahim Halil Yıldız.
Mehmet Şah Yıldız from the family of the AKP deputy also lost his life as a result of an injury sustained at the shop after he himself had shot Adil Şenyaşar, one of the brothers, in the leg.
Fadıl Şenyaşar, another son of the Şenyaşar family, was detained by the police for killing Mehmet Şah Yıldız even before his medical treatment for injuries sustained in the attack had been completed. He has been in prison ever since.
On 9 March, Emine Şenyaşar and her surviving son Ferit Şenyaşar launched a sit-in protest outside the Urfa courthouse demanding justice for their murdered loved ones.
Since then, Emine and Ferit Şenyaşar have been attacked by the police three times as their peaceful vigil and cry for justice has been completely ignored by the prosecutor of the Şenyaşar case.
Announcing the last verdict at the seventh hearing of the Şenyşar case on 2 April, a court in Malatya sentenced Fadıl Şenyaşar to 37 years and 9 months in prison and sentenced Enver Yıldız to 18 years in prison.
“I had 5 sons, they killed 2 of them and put one in prison. They sentenced my son to 37 years and 9 months in prison and they sentenced the one who committed the massacre to 18 years in prison. Is this justice? What kind of state is this? There is no justice on these lands, we will leave this place. We can no longer live on these lands,” said Emine Şenyaşar after the court announced the ruling.