TİP head says they will march towards Ankara to demand release of jailed MP Atalay

Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP) chair Erkan Baş has stated that they will start a march from Hatay to Ankara on Oct. 1 unless the Constitutional Court makes a decision regarding TİP MP Can Atalay who is still kept in prison despite being elected as a lawmaker.

Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP) held a meeting with journalists on Sept. 13 (Photo: TİP)

Can Bursalı / Gazete Duvar

Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP) chair Erkan Baş on Sept. 13 said that they will march towards capital Ankara, in a move to demand the release of Can Atalay, the imprisoned lawmaker of the TİP.

In a meeting held in Istanbul with journalists, Baş said “If the Constitutional Court (AYM) does not make a decision by Oct. 1 (regarding Atalay), we will not attend the opening of the Parliament and will go to Hatay. We will do whatever the people of Hatay say. If they say ‘walk to Ankara,’ we will set out from Hatay and walk to Ankara.”

“We owe a debt to the people of Hatay. We will create mobile offices in Hatay and not make Can Atalay's absence felt,” he added.

Atalay, lawyer by profession, was arrested on April 25, 2022 after being sentenced to 18 years in prison in the Gezi trial but his sentence has not been finalized yet in the top appeals court. Despite being elected as a lawmaker from the southern Hatay province in the May 14 elections and receiving parliamentary mandate, Atalay is still imprisoned.

In his written opinion (“tebliğname”), the chief public prosecutor's office of the Court of Cassation submitted a negative opinion on the release of Can Atalay, arguing that he was convicted on the charge of “attempting to overturn the government” which is why he can’t be granted parliamentary immunity.

Evaluating the election results, Baş said there are many people who feel regret for not voting for the TİP.

“The only negative thing about these election results was not that the government (AKP) won, but that the opposition failed to win. The TİP provided an organization that had not been achieved from the socialist left in the last 40 years (in Turkey). But undoubtedly, this is not enough for us,” Baş added.

He said that 16 percent of their voters voted for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the past. 

“The Workers' Party of Turkey, just like in the 60s, fulfilled its promise of 'being a (real) opposition' in the past. In the coming period, we will pursue politics of gain. Maybe we will see more than one socialist municipality in the coming period (with the 2024 local elections),” he noted.

The TİP entered the 2023 general elections with the Labor and Freedom Alliance, and received 1.73 percent of the votes, having four seats in the parliament.

(English version by Alperen Şen)