At least 22,818 members of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish political parties have been detained in security operations since 2015, resulting in the imprisonment of 4,334 people, including co-chairs and other members, Öztürk Türkdoğan, a spokesperson for the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party’s Law and Human Rights Commission, said in a press release on Monday.
Presenting a comprehensive report, Türkdoğan also highlighted the alarming number of arrests of elected officials, including 104 provincial co-chairs and 202 district co-chairs, from January 2015 to 10 December 2023.
The report also noted the continued detention of seven parliamentarians and 14 central executive committee members, with 15 MPs being removed from their seats. Türkdoğan highlighted the “systematic denial of the will of the people”, particularly in the Kurdish regions, as evidenced by the replacement of elected mayors with government-appointed administrators.
Addressing persistent attacks, the spokesman reported 336 physical assaults on the party between 2015 and 2023, resulting in two deaths, and injuries to 76 party members.
Türkdoğan recalled the end of the peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2015, when curfews began to be implemented in the Kurdish majority areas. He stressed that 2016 marked a turning point, with the arrest of the co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, and the intensification of attacks against civilians.
Türkdoğan urged the international community to take note of the deteriorating situation in the country and stressed the need for democratic reforms, saying: “This government cannot democratise without starting a new peace process on the Kurdish question and abandoning its repressive policies.”