Duvar English

Turkey’s newly established Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) has slammed the government for attempting to block the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)’s Democracy March, saying the right to hold demonstration marches is safeguarded by the Constitution.

Mustafa Yeneroğlu, founding DEVA member and lawmaker, said on June 16 that the HDP’s “constitutional rights have been restricted beyond measure.”

“According to the Constitutional Court laws, it is not possible for a demonstration march to be banned just because the opinions and ideas it favors is not embraced by the majority or the ruling party or leads to a discomfort in them,” Yeneroğlu said in his written statement.

The HDP on June 15 launched its two-track Democracy March to the capital Ankara — one from the northwestern province of Edirne and the other from the southeastern province of Hakkari. The march is a protest of the expulsion of two HDP deputies and one main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker from the parliament.

Governors of several provinces, the majority of which are located on the route of the march, since then have announced that they banned all demonstrations, citing the fight against the novel coronavirus as the reason why this decision was taken. Some of them have even temporarily banned entrances to their provinces. Also, people attempting to join the march faced police resistance and were detained in various provinces. Despite the obstacles, HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan announced on June 16 that the government will not be able to stop their march.

DEVA’s Yeneroğlu said that Turkey is having a “deep crisis” in which “arbitrary violations of the law” are taking place under the influence of a growing authoritarianism.

“Our citizens have come to a point where they can no longer freely criticize the ruling government. It is the most explicit evidence of bad management and authoritarianism that the ruling government associates anyone who does not think like itself with terrorism,” he said.