The prosecutor is expected to sum up the case for the prosecution at the 24th hearing of the Kobane trial, in which 108 members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are in the dock for inciting acts of violence in Turkey in connection with the siege of Syria’s Kurdish-majority city of Kobane by Islamic State’s (ISIS) in 2014.
The HDP’s imprisoned former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş told the court that the summing-up of both the HDP closure case and the Kobane case were adjusted according to the general elections to be held on 14 May and said, “We will not remain silent about your interference with the election 33 days before the event.”
The Kurdish politician argued that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan influenced the court with leading statements: “[Erdoğan] says, ‘Demirtaş did not receive the sentence he should have received.’ He is talking about this case. In other words, he is describing what he expects from the three judges who are before us now. Just as he called the members of the Constitutional Court and scolded them, a similar process is ongoing with this court.”
Former HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ stated that the Kobane trial was a conspiracy against the will of the people following the 7 June 2015 elections, and said that the summing-up would be this government’s final decree.
Yüksekdağ emphasised that the court bench was conducting the process like a “truck with a faulty brake” with no recognition for rules and regulations.
“You are the focus of propaganda for the upcoming elections. Erdoğan needs this ruling to eliminate his opponent as a presidential candidate. He is using this ruling to play politics,” Yüksekdağ said, addressing the court bench.
The case was brought against 108 HDP members because they made a call to protest against the siege of Kobane by ISIS and another for solidarity with the people of the Kurdish city.
HDP party members stand accused of initiating the events that took place on 6-7 October 2014 in Turkey’s largest cities and those heavily populated by Kurds, resulting in 46 deaths.
On 20 May 2016, the Turkish National Assembly lifted the parliamentary immunities of the HDP MPs. They were arrested in dawn raids on their homes on 4 November of the same year.
Though the investigation into the protests began in 2014, the indictment was not presented to the court until December 2020, and the trial was started in April 2021.
Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office prepared an indictment against the HDP members, citing the HDP’s social media posts, which are claimed to have initiated the process leading to the events now known as the Kobane events.
The Kobane case file consists of an indictment of 3,530 pages. In the indictment, the prosecutor seeks aggravated life imprisonment 38 times for the defendants on 29 different charges, including “murder”, “looting”, “injuring a public official with a gun”, “burning flags”, and “disruption of the national unity and the integrity of the country”.