Duvar English

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Pervin Buldan has deemed stripping deputies of their parliamentary statuses and sacking mayors from the HDP “a political coup.”

During a speech in the western province of Edirne, Buldan said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) seizes people’s will through the said practices.

“This country has been struggling against coups for many years. Millions have stood against the coups. However, what the AKP does is a political coup. It’s seizing people’s wills,” Buldan said on June 16.

The Kurdish issue-focused party launched its Democracy March on June 15 following the stripping of three deputies of their parliamentary statuses.

The party began its march from Edirne and the southeastern province of Hakkari, which is expected to end in the capital Ankara on June 20.

HDP deputies Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu were stripped of their parliamentary statuses and subsequently arrested. Berberoğlu was released as part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) measures, while Güven was released to be sentenced to house arrest.

This is not the first time that HDP deputies have been the target of such move. Scores of HDP members, including former deputies, mayors and heads of local branches, are currently imprisoned.

Sacking mayors from the HDP and replacing them with trustees is also a common practice of the AKP.

Buldan and the accompanying delegation on June 16 wanted to make a press statement in front of the Edirne Prison, where former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and former deputy Abdullah Zeydan have been imprisoned for over 3.5 years, but were prevented by police. They then moved to a different location close to the prison to speak.

Buldan pointed to the fact that entrances and exits to plenty of cities are banned to prevent the HDP from marching, saying that the AKP won’t be able to stop the party’s march.