The indictments for nine MP’s from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) include – amongst their grounds for charges – the speeches they gave to parliament and their posts on social media regarding the Boğaziçi University protests.
Thirty three indictments were submitted to the Turkish Parliament demanding that the immunities of the MP’s should be lifted. Twenty eight of the thirty three indictments targeted the HDP MP’s. Indictments have also been prepared as part of the Kobanê investigation against HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan and MP’s Garo Paylan, Sezai Temelli, Serpil Kemalbay, Meral Danış Beştaş, Saruhan Oluç, Pero Dündar, Hüda Kaya and Fatma Kurtulan.
Nine indictments were submitted to the Joint Committee consisting of the Parliamentary Justice and Constitutional Commission. 2,674 people and plaintiffs from various institutions filed complaints against the lawmakers.
955 indictments issued against HDP MP’s
The total number of indictments that have laid against HDP MP’s during the 27th legislative year of the Turkish parliament amounts to 955, whilst the number of indictments prepared against Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP’s, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) MP’s and coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) MP’s amounts to 246, thirteen and nine, respectively.
In several indictments, the HDP deputies have been held responsible for the losses of life that took place during the Kobanê protests, when Kurdish people living in Turkey took to the streets all around the country in 2014 in protest against the siege of Kobanê by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, or Daesh).
Tweets, press statements, speeches and secret witness statements included in indictments
Secret witness statements, press statements that were made on 9 October 2014, deputies’ participation in protests, events organised by the HDP, participation in election campaigns and social media posts were all included as “grounds for charges” in the indictments. In addition to this, statements that were made by deputies on 8 March (‘International Women’s Day’), 25 November (‘International Day of the Struggle Against Violence Against Women’), and which covered issues relating to isolation, hunger strikes, the Boğaziçi protests were also listed as grounds for charges. The statements made in press conferences held in Turkey’s Parliament were also listed as grounds for charges. Participating in a ‘Democracy and Peace Conference’ held in Ankara on 25-26 May 2013 was also considered a crime.
It is also noteworthy that the social media posts of MP’s relating to the “trustee rector” protests that started with the appointment of Melih Bulu as a rector to Boğaziçi University were included in the indictments. The post, ‘You can chain the doors, not the brains of the students’, shared by HDP Group Deputy Chairman Saruhan, was also considered grounds for indictment against him.