Mahsuni Karaman, a lawyer acting for Selahattin Demirtaş, has expressed grave concerns over the Kobani (Kobanê) trial, in which his client, a former Co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), is a defendant. Karaman’s warning comes as Demirtaş and others could face at least seven aggravated life sentences due to a tweet from 6 October 2014.
The tweet in question, on the HDP’s official twitter account and in the name of the HDP says:
“The situation in Kobani is extremely dire. We call on our people to take to the streets in protest against the ISIS attacks and the AKP government’s embargo of Kobani, and to support those already out in the streets.”
Karaman’s challenge to the charges is forceful, stating, “This tweet cannot be grounds for accusations of incitement to murder or attempted murder.” He calls on the Turkish academic community, challenging them to try and justify the charges. “Speak out, for academic integrity and honour,” he says.
Karaman recently asserted that the Constitutional Court’s last-minute postponement of a meeting to discuss Demirtaş’s remand in custody in relation to a further case against him, and his application to the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the non-implementation of the [previous] violation ruling, was a deliberate attempt to prevent the politician’s release by the creation of the new conviction. Karaman said that had the Constitutional Court examined the case, it is likely that they would have ruled in favour of Demirtaş’s release in line with the European Court’s decision. This development further underlines the complexities and concerns surrounding legal proceedings in Turkey.
In a series of tweets he shared from prison through his lawyer in 2018, Demirtaş had refuted the claim that violence and provocation had started on 5 and 6 October as claimed by President Erdoğan, stating that they began on 7 October after Erdoğan had said “Kobani is about to fall.”
He had both corrected the number of people murdered in the protests and provided specific details about the victims, revealing the culpability of the security forces and pro-government mobs in the deaths. He had also accused Erdoğan of exploiting the deaths for his benefit and not caring about the people who were murdered but rather being upset about the defeat of ISIS in Kobani, and he had challenged Erdoğan to share the so-called “order for the slaughter of 53 people” that Erdoğan had claimed had been made by Demirtaş, vowing to withdraw from the presidential race if such evidence was provided.