Investigation launched into HDP MP Gergerlioğlu over call for sick prisoner Aysel Tuğluk’s release

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into HDP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu for statements he made calling for the release of sick prisoner and former HDP MP Aysel Tuğluk, who suffers from early-onset dementia.

This file photo shows HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu.

Duvar English

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu for calling for the release of sick prisoner and former HDP MP Aysel Tuğluk. Tuğluk has been imprisoned since 2016 and suffers from early-onset dementia.

Despite medical experts’ calling for her release, Turkish authorities have kept Tuğluk behind bars over the course of her illness. Experts say this has continued to the rapid onset of the illness.

In a post shared on social media on Jan. 6, Gergerlioğlu called for Tuğluk’s release. 

“We demand justice for Aysel Tuğluk as soon as possible. Let the persecution end, let justice be done. Aysel Tuğluk, held in Kandıra prison, must be released,” he wrote.

Gergerlioğlu also shared a video footage recorded in front of the Kandıra prison, which showed him making a press statement. 

This week, Gergerlioğlu, a medical doctor and politician, attempted to visit Tuğluk in Kandıra prison but was denied entry. He shared several posts on social media standing on the road outside of the prison.

Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his parliamentary immunity and imprisoned in May 2021 for allegedly “spreading terrorist propaganda.” The charges stemmed from Gergerlioğlu’s retweeting a T24 article about the collapse of the Kurdish peace process in 2015 and the subsequent onset of violence in the region. Gergerlioğlu spent three months behind bars before being released in July 2021. 

Now, the MP is being investigated on charges of insulting the state and its organs, attempting to influence decision-making, and praising criminals and criminal acts. 

In a tweet shared on social media, Gergerlioğlu’s son Salih Gergerlioğlu, who has long advocated for his father, expressed both disbelief and resignation at the announcement of the investigation. 

“There are no words left to explain Turkish law. I am no longer surprised. But, I repeat the same phrase,” he wrote. “We demand justice for Aysel Tuğluk. Let the persecution end, let justice be done. Release Aysel Tuğluk from Kandıra Prison!”