After having been imprisoned for more than three months, human rights activist and former Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) MP, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has been released after the Constitutional Court ruled that his rights had been violated.
That decision cleared the way for his immediate release and the restoration of his parliamentary seat, but Gergerlioğlu remained imprisoned for an additional five days following the ruling.
In the press conference held in the headquarters of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, he began by emphasising the Kurdish motto, ‘”Berxwedan Jiyane” [Life is resistance].
“This is where we left off. We were saying, ‘Berxwedan Jiyane’. Our life is resistance, dear friends. To resist is to live. We have also always said, ‘Biji biratiya gelan’, [Long live the fellowship of the people]. These were all so important to us,” he said.
Raising both his hands above in the air with the victory sign, he said, “I have left the parliament like this and I will enter there again, the same.”
Gergerlioğlu highlighted all of the political prisoners in Turkey’s prisons and shared his hope that they would all be free one day with a joint resistance.
“I believe all our friends will be released. We are faced with violations of our rights in this path; we are losing friends. But we will resist. I am sure our resistance will eventually bring victory,” he said.
He also told Al Monitor that he spent his time thinking about remedies for Turkey’s judicial system and the Kurdish question, which he claimed is now shaped by the HDP closure case.
“What should be known, apart from the HDP, is that most Kurds in this country are unhappy and this ethnic denial, assimilation effort and pressure cannot continue any longer,” said Gergerlioglu adding, “For problems to be solved, political channels must be opened.”
Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his lawmaker status and detained on the 2nd of April, when he was sentenced to two years and six months in prison for spreading propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The court ruling was based on a claim that he had done this by means of a social media post he had made in 2016.
In the post there was a picture of mothers behind two coffins, one covered with the Turkish national flag and the other with the flag of the PKK. Gergerlioğlu had written: ‘You can understand why this war is nothing but destruction when you look at this picture. Mothers are the same, the flags, different.’
Gergerlioglu was elected to the Turkish Parliament as a candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party, HDP in 2018.