Prosecutors in the southeastern province of Gaziantep have prepared an indictment against local Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) politicians, referring to the HDP as a “supposed party,” despite it being the third largest in Turkish parliament.
The Gaziantep Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office submitted the indictment to the court and accused the HDP politicians of “being members of a terrorist organization,” while acting “under the cover of” a political party.
The accusations target 61 people, several of whom are local politicians from the HDP and HDP’s sister party Democratic Regions Party (DBP). Some 35 people stand trial under arrest. The politicians were arrested following a raid in Gaziantep on July 14, 2019.
Mezopotamya news agency reported on July 30 that the 668-page-long indictment against the politicians was accepted by the Gaziantep 2nd Heavy Penal Court and the first hearing of the case will take place on Nov. 23.
The indictment considered the politicians’ membership and attendance to Kurdish groups and organizations such as Democratic Society Congress (DTK), HDP Youth Council, HDP Women’s Council, Free Women’s Movement (TJA) as evidence linking them to the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), which is outlawed in Turkey.
The politicians’ activities at these groups such as collecting a charity or printing cards for Newroz celebrations have been considered as “KCK financial structure activities.”
The KCK is an umbrella political organisation to which the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other allied Kurdish armed groups in Syria, Iran and Iraq belong.
The indictment said the the HDP was running activities “under the name of a political party” and there “was no indication of it being a political party other than its name.” “Many of the KCK activities are run from within this supposed party,” the indictment said.
The prosecutors attempted to justify their statement by referring to HDP politicians holding a sit-in in front of a local party building to protest the isolation imposed on jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. The prosecutors also said that HDP Gaziantep co-chair Müslüm Kılıç and HDP Şahinbey district co-chair Mehmet Özkan’s membership in the DTK as delegates was “a proof” linking the HDP with the KCK.
Mehmet Özkan’s money transfer to his jailed brother Cuma Özkan also found its place in the indictment under the name of “Prison External Coordination.” The prosecutors said it was “attention-grabbing” for Özkan to wire money twice in one week. As for Özkan’s speaking with other prisoners while visiting his brother in jail, prosecutors said: “His activities here have been considered within the framework of ‘prison external coordination’ and have been considered as a proof of armed terrorist organization membership.”
HDP deputy: Judiciary is being instrumentalized to lynch our party
Mahmut Toğrul, HDP’s deputy representing Gaziantep, has said that the indictment clearly showed how the authorities were trying to “criminalize” their party. He said that it was through such efforts that the government was trying to block people from showing sympathy for the HDP.
“The police have been turned into a tool of oppression on the HDP. The judiciary has been similarly instrumentalized for this purpose. Our colleagues are being arrested in this way. There is a complete unlawfulness out in the open. The party’s activities are being shown as if they are illegal and there is an attempt of lynching,” he said.