Istanbul police intervene in HDP demonstration protesting last week's attack on party branch

A press statement attempted to be held by HDP officials in Istanbul's Şirinevler district faced violent police intervention on Jan. 2. Many people were detained during the demonstration, which aimed to protest last week's attack on the HDP's Bahçelievler branch.

HDP members hold a banner reading 'We condemn attacks against the HDP' during the demonstration.

Duvar English 

Istanbul police on Jan. 2 forcefully intervened in a press statement held by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and detained several people.

HDP lawmakers and executives attempted to hold a press statement at 4 p.m. local time at the Şirinevler Square, in protest of last week's attack targeting a HDP branch in the Bahçelieverler district. However, they faced violent police brutality, with even HDP Istanbul lawmaker Hüda Kaya being battered.

HDP Istanbul provincial co-chair Ferhat Encü reacted against the police's intervention, saying: “Using our democratic rights, through a press statement, we wanted to protest an armed attack against our party office. But hundreds of police officers tried to prevent it. This is the fear of the dark mentality.”

After being barred from holding their statement at the Şirinevler Square, the HDP held its press statement in front of the Şirinevler district party office. Encü said that the authorities were violating their constitutional right to gather.

He said that last week's attack on the party's Bahçelievler branch was one of the many targeting the HDP. “You cannot see the assailants of these attacks as merely unstable people. We know that there is a dark mentality behind these attacks. These attacks are planned,” he said.

“The HDP is a party that has received six million votes. You will show respect to this party's will and institutions. As you continue to attack, our people will show their reaction. We are warning you for the last time. We are warning those who have directed this assailant to our district. You cannot scare our friends like this,” he said.

An assailant wounded an HDP member during a knife attack on the party's Bahçelievler branch on Dec. 28.

It was the second attack on an HDP building in 2021. In June, a gunman stormed the HDP’s office in the Aegean province of İzmir province, killing a female employee.

HDP officials have been pointing out that it is the government officials who have the ultimate responsibility for these attacks as they have been targeting the HDP in their speeches for a long time now.