The leader of the Turkish main opposition said that Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), is a ‘political prisoner’ and should be immediately released.
Speaking to journalist Murat Sabuncu, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the chair of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said:
“The incarceration of Selahattin Demirtaş is unjust. He is a political prisoner. I want him to be released as soon as possible. Despite his incarceration, Demirtaş does not abandon his path, defends democracy with great determination, and expresses that the parliament should be an effective institution. His views are precious.”
Kılıçdaroğlu added that Osman Kavala, the human rights defender who has been imprisoned since 2017 despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordering his release -similar to its decision in the case of Demirtaş- should also be immediately released as well.
Demirtaş was stripped of his parliamentary status and arrested in November 2016 while he was serving as the co-chair of the HDP.
Kılıçdaroğlu and CHP MPs however, had voted in favour of a constitutional amendment in May 2016 which enabled Demirtaş and a group of other HDP MPs to be stripped of their parliamentary status and consequently of their parliamentary immunity, thus leading to their arrests in November 2016.