Ferhat Yaşar / DUVAR
The houses of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) members have turned to prisons due to increasing house arrest sentences, the party said on Feb. 17 in a press briefing held at the Human Rights Association (İHD) office in Istanbul.
"We need to evaluate this issue in terms of human rights and law. This practice is against human rights for limiting people's freedoms," İHD Istanbul co-chair Gülseren Yoleri told reporters.
"People are sentenced to house arrest for using their right to peaceful demonstration. There can be situations that people can be handed house arrest, but it's unlawful to hand this to the people who use their right to peaceful demonstration," she noted.
The crackdown on the HDP has been increasingly ongoing, with mass detentions and arrests. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) often target the HDP by claiming that it has links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli on Feb. 16 once again called for the HDP's closure following the deaths of 13 Turks, including soldiers, police and intelligence officers, held captive by the PKK in northern Iraq on Feb. 14.
Similarly, the government and the MHP immediately tried to link the deaths to the HDP even though the party proved that it repeatedly tried to rescue the captives.
'A method of war'
HDP Istanbul co-chair Erdal Avcı, meanwhile, said that the practice is aimed at punishing and quashing the opposition sometimes even without holding trials.
"This is a method of war against the opposition who wants to use their constitutional rights. It has become so widespread that it turned into the practice of F-type prisons. Our friends are facing solitary confinement at their homes," Avcı said.
"House arrests, bans on traveling and obligations to give signatures couple of times a week limit our friends' freedoms. Those sentenced to house arrest lose their jobs. They lose their jobs, can't pay their rent and become unable to maintain their social lives," he said.
Saying that police arbitrarily visit people given house arrest, Avcı noted that "this is an extraordinary violation of the law."
"The party's chairs' right to do politics is taken from them when they are placed under house arrest. We won't accept the turning of our houses into dungeons and we'll resist this everywhere," he said.