Duvar English

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has urged the release of former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, citing repeated court rulings.

“If you have ruled for release, you must implement that ruling,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his party’s weekly parliamentary group meeting in the capital Ankara on June 23.

“Demirtaş is a politician for whom release rulings were issued four times and who was jailed despite them,” he said, while deeming the practice “unjust and unlawful.”

Turkey’s Constitutional Court early on June 19 ruled that rights of Demirtaş, who has been imprisoned since Nov. 4, 2016 on charges related to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), were violated, saying that the politician’s lengthy imprisonment breaches the constitution as it exceeds the “reasonable duration.”

He wasn’t released due to another ongoing case against the former HDP co-chair.

The Ankara 19th Heavy Penal Court had already on Sept. 2, 2019 ruled for Demirtaş’s release in the case for which the Constitution Court said there has been a violation of rights.

The Ankara court’s ruling had come following the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)’s several calls to Turkey to release Demirtaş.

Once the Ankara court ruled that Demirtaş should be freed pending trial, prosecutors then launched a new investigation into the politician and requested his arrest once again before he could be freed.

“What’s the reason for why the release rulings are not applied?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked on June 23.

“Whether you like his political beliefs or not is different issue. Implement the release ruling. These are reflections of a dictatorial regime,” he added.

Turkey’s top court also ruled for rights violations in the case of Eren Erdem, a former CHP deputy, on June 19.

Erdem was arrested in June 2018 on terrorism charges. Though previously a parliamentarian, Erdem was not nominated by his party in the elections of that year, thereby depriving him of parliamentary immunity and paving the way for his arrest.

He remained behind bars for 490 days.