The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said the arrests of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies, including two co-chairs of the Kurdish issue-focused party, violate Turkey’s constitution, while also calling for the release of arrested daily Cumhuriyet journalists.
“Arresting lawmakers before legal processes and verdicts are finalized is against the constitution and Constitutional Court rulings. This unlawful practice should be ended,” a written statement issued by the CHP’s Party Assembly said on Nov. 7.
Nine HDP deputies, including co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested on Nov. 4 over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The CHP said the recent deterioration in democracy gives the Turkish people the “right to democratically resist.”
“The [presidential] palace and the AKP [Justice and Development Party] executives who aided and harbored FETÖ [Fethullahist Terror Organization], the PKK [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] terrorist organizations are major threats to the survival and democracy of our country,” read the statement.
“This threat gives our citizens the right to resist democratically. All citizens who love their country and who believe in democracy and the need to protect basic rights and liberties should unite to defeat this major threat to our republic,” it added.
The CHP Party Assembly gathered in an extraordinary session on Nov. 6 to shape a road map forward, following the arrests of daily Cumhuriyet journalists and HDP lawmakers.
“The AKP has sidelined social consensus and continued its attacks against democratic, secular and social principles of the rule of law and the core values of the Republic of Turkey,” the resulting declaration said.
‘A dark and authoritarian coup’
The CHP criticized the government for politicizing and controlling the judiciary.
“At this point, Turkey is experiencing a dark and authoritarian coup by the [presidential] palace under the guise of their struggle against FETÖ. The existing political situation is a threat to the freedom of the public and the survival of our country,” it said.
The CHP submitted a list of demands for the government under four articles. It first requested the government to dismiss the ongoing court case against Cumhuriyet journalists, declaring the case to be “irrational and unlawful.”
The second article urges the government to conduct an “effective investigation” into the July 15 coup attempt and ensure that the legal bodies conduct fair trails for everybody, while also asking the government to monitor the authorities responsible for human rights violations against detainees under investigation.
Third, it criticized the ruling AKP for “aiding terrorism” by following wrong policies in the struggle against the PKK. The CHP said the peace process, which collapsed last summer, should have been carried out under the roof of parliament with elected representatives rather than the PKK, while also denouncing the “legally unprecedented” arrest of HDP lawmakers.
The party also demanded that the government stop interfering in schools, universities and NGOs, and to cease restricting freedom of expression, assembly and enterprise.