Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's doctor has urged his patient to be released from prison, saying his health problems make him vulnerable against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "Demirtaş is among one of the groups that's under highest risk. Prison conditions bear major risks in terms of getting infected," Cegerxun Polat told Duvar.
Nalan Özaydın, a dismissed mayor from the HDP, has been released from prison after testing positive for the coronavirus. The court ordered Özaydın not to leave her residence and imposed an overseas travel ban for her.
Government’s donation request letter sent to minority foundations ‘means of oppression,’ HDP MP says
HDP MP Garo Paylan asked in parliamentary question why the government sent a letter to the country's minority foundations seeking donations from them within the context of a recently launched campaign amid coronavirus outbreak. "The relevant donation campaign, which has been launched under the name of 'solidarity,' has turned into a tool of oppression,” Paylan said.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu has slammed the government's penal reform package for excluding politicians and activists. Calling on the government to prepare a new draft bill that includes citizens imprisoned on political grounds, Tanrıkulu questioned the reason for why precautions adopted around the world to prevent prisoners from being infected with coronavirus aren't implemented in Turkey.
Turkish presidency has sent an e-mail to several citizens, including jailed former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, urging them to stay at home amid coronavirus outbreak. Demirtaş's wife Başak Demirtaş has shared the e-mail on her social media account, saying: "That is what we are saying as well."
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar said that the party will establish an Alternative Science Commission that will convey reliable information to the public. "The society needs reliable information above all else. A center that puts the people's security at its core must be formed. The most urgent need is to protect the society," Sancar said.
A government-appointed trustee in the southeastern province of Batman has removed Kurdish from the municipality's website. The municipality website now serves only in Turkish. Meanwhile, ousted co-mayor Mehmet Demir said that the trustee resumed construction in buildings that were ruled to be demolished due to being unsafe.
An ousted HDP mayor is facing terrorism charges over her support for a women's agricultural cooperative that was planting green beans in Mardin's villages. The prosecutors said that activities of Saray Women's Cooperative are to be considered within the framework of the KCK, which the government says is the urban wing of the PKK.
The Turkish government is going ahead with the controversial Kanal Istanbul project, despite widespread opposition and the current crisis stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. On March 26, it held a tender for the reconstruction of two bridges on the route of the project.
Ankara's removal of eight mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is an example of the government using the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity, HDP Co-Chair Mithat Sancar said in a press conference March 23. He also criticized the government's economic stimulus package for failing to fulfill the needs of healthcare workers.
Turkey's Interior Ministry on March 23 appointed trustee mayors to eight more municipalities run by the HDP in the southeastern provinces. Including this latest move, the government has appointed trustees to a total of 40 municipalities won by the HDP since the 2019 March local elections.
Turkish Health Ministry is set to meet with coronavirus researcher Mustafa Ulaşlı, who was sacked with a state of emergency decree. According to HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca sounded positive on his reinstatement to his post. "I have received positive signals from the minister in our talks.," Gergerlioğlu told Duvar.
Only one in two people in Turkey are worried about Coronavirus, while close to 20 percent stated that they were “neither worried nor unworried”. More strikingly, despite the warnings only 48 percent do not shake hands while only 49 percent do not kiss when seeing someone.
Jailed HDP former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's wife Başak Demirtaş has cited concerns about jail conditions that could augment the spread of the coronavirus and called on authorities to release prisoners. Demirtaş's remarks came amid reports that the gov't will expedite a legal amendment to reduce the time served by inmates to facilitate their early release. However, the legal amendment will exclude political prisoners.
HDP deputy Meral Danış Beştaş was criticized for not imposing quarantine on herself upon returning from Germany on March 8. "From what we see on social media, Beştaş returned from Germany and her quarantine period is ongoing under normal circumstances," AKP Group Deputy Chair Cahit Özkan said in parliament. "Yes, I went to Germany and came back. All the necessary tests were carried out at the airport, my health is perfectly fine. If there were problems, I wouldn't jeopardize my friends and the society," Beştaş said in return.