Two days after a funeral transportation service was denied by state officials for another member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who had been found dead in her prison cell in suspicious circumstances, an HDP convention in Istanbul turned into a passionate rally as thousands attended.
The party co-chair Mithat Sancar addressed the crowd at the convention on Sunday, starting his speech by paying his respects first to Deniz Poyraz, a HDP member murdered on 17 June, and to Garibe Gezer, whom it is claimed was found dead in her prison cell on Thursday.
“The mentality behind the murder of Garibe Gezer is the same one that killed Deniz Poyraz,” he said. “You don’t even have respect for the dead. You’re putting everyone in prison. You’re framing our comrades and filling the prisons with them. We do not call them ‘detainees’. They are all political hostages.”
The crowd burst into cheers when Sancar mentioned the name of Selahattin Demirtaş, the party’s former co-chair, who has been imprisoned since November 2016 in Turkey’s western province of Edirne.
İlknur Birol, former chair of the Organisation of Community Centres, and Ferhat Encü, a former member of the Turkish parliament, were elected co-chairs of the party’s Istanbul branch.
While Birol addressed the crowd in Turkish, Encü made his address in Kurdish.