“The Progressive International is mobilising to Ankara to defend democracy, resist lawfare, and bear witness to the historic ‘Kobanî trial’,” said PI.
108 HDP politicans, including the jailed former co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, who are also tried in the Kobanî trials, are being accused of all the deaths that occured during the 6-8 October 2014 Kobanî protests in Turkey.
Progressive International announced that Maciej Konieczny (Member of Parliament, Razem, Poland), Eva Ampazi (General Counsel, MeRA25, Greece), and David Adler (General Coordinator, Progressive International), are part of a delegation arriving in Turkey “to stand with the HDP” and “to send a signal to reactionary forces everywhere”.
Progressive International was established as a democratic, anti-colonialist, egalitarian union following the open call of the Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25) and the Sanders Institute to all progressive forces to form a common front in December 2018.
HDP’s values — of peace, pluralism, feminism, and internationalism — are at the core of the Progressive International’s project as announced by their statement.
“Their struggle is an inspiration to the world,” said PI with regard to HDP.
Titled as “Democracy is on trial in Turkey. We are mobilizing to defend it”, the Progressive International statement underlined the importance of the Kobani case, defining it as a trial that will “determine the fate of democratic struggle in Turkey.”
“The trial — known as the “Kobani trial” — accuses the defendants for a Twitter post from October 2014 that called for solidarity with the people of Kobani against the attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) and local Turkish police,” the Progressive International said. “All together, more than 37 people were killed in the 2014 Kobani protests — the vast majority by Turkish police gunfire.
“Prosecutors charge that the Tweet incited violence. The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights found no evidence to sustain the charge. Reviewing the case in December 2020, the ECHR found that the Tweet “remained within the limits of political speech, in so far as they cannot be construed as a call for violence,” and called for the immediate release of HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
“President Erdoğan now seeks to erase the ECHR ruling, eliminate the HDP, and imprison its leadership. Demirtaş himself faces 15,000 years in prison in the Kobani case. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation — appointed by Erdoğan less than one year ago — has called on the Constitutional Court to ban the HDP entirely.”
The PI underlined that the legal warfare, or “lawfare”, have been targeted against lawyers, journalists, activists, and political representatives across Turkey, as Erdoğan seeks to consolidate his power.
“Critics of the AKP are routinely accused of “supporting terrorism” and “spreading fear and panic,” clearing the way for prosecutors to crush dissent, close down publications, and imprison their reporters,” the PI further added. “The Kobani case may begin on Monday, but it does not end there. Lasting 45 days, the Kobani trial will call on the solidarity of all progressive forces across all countries on all continents. Because democracy is on trial, and it is our historic responsibility to defend it.”
On 20 April a group of political party leaders from Europe and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also announced a joint solidarity statement with the HDP.
The joint statement of the European Politicians and MEPs said, “It is with dismay that we observe recent developments in Turkey involving systematic repression against elected politicians, and politically motivated cases against the HDP. For years, the HDP has been calling for a parliamentary inquiry to shed light on what led to the violence, but President Erdogan’s ruling AKP has always rejected this proposal.
“We stand firmly against this violation of the rule of law. It is unacceptable in a democracy to hold elected officials responsible for what happened at an event whose investigation is being actively hindered.”
Underlining that due to the COVID-19 measures, many parties and organisations would not be able to monitor the trial in Turkey, European political party leaders and MEPS urged “Anyone expressing their solidarity to share their action with the press, or by means of social networks, making a statement with the following hashtags: #SolidarityWithHDP and #DefendKobani In solidarity.”