Sergey Lagodinsky, MEP and chair of the delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, responds to an article that frames his meeting with a Kurdish politician as meeting with ‘a spokesperson’ for the ‘terrorist PKK’.
The article referred to the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of Turkey as the ‘PKK-affiliated party’, pointing to the designation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as a terrorist group in Turkey and the European Union.
The party has the third largest group in the Turkish parliament and received 12% of the general vote in the last general elections.
The Kurdish politician targeted in the article is former HDP MP Bedia Özgökçe Ertan, later elected co-mayor of Turkey’s Kurdish-majority province of Van (Wan). She was removed from her mayoral post by the Turkish interior ministry and replaced by a state-appointed trustee.
In response to the article published in TRT Deutsch, a Turkish state-owned media outlet, Lagodinsky tweeted on Monday:
“Yes, I met @bediaozgokce in Strasbourg. But 1) I decide myself who I meet in the context of my parliamentary work; 2) the position of @Europarl_DU is well known: we do not accept the removal of the #hdp mayors”
Fırat Anlı, the elected mayor of Diyarbakır (Amed) was also removed from his post by Turkish authorities. Fırat Anlı and Bedia Özgökçe Ertan met with Lagodinsky and other MEPs 5 and 6 April at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
Bedia Özgökçe Ertan, Fırat Anlı, and Mustafa Avcı were elected co-mayors in the Van 2019 local elections with 54 percent of the metropolitan area vote. Four months later they were replaced by appointed ‘trustees’.
TRT Deutsch also wrote that ‘German politicians are said to have helped Bedia Özgökçe Ertan come to Germany, where she has now applied for refugee status’, after she fled Turkey to avoid imprisonment.