Turkey reinstates Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu's parliamentary status

Turkey's parliament has reinstated Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu's parliamentary status after the Constitutional Court ruled that his rights were violated.

File photo.

Duvar English 

Turkey's parliament on July 16 reinstated Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu's parliamentary status, some three months after it was stripped on politically motivated charges. 

Gergerlioğlu, a deputy of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), announced the reinstatement on Twitter, saying that the rights given by the people can't be taken away unlawfully by anyone else. 

"It's the people's will that prevailed," Gergerlioğlu tweeted. 

Gergerlioğlu, also a human rights defender, was sentenced to prison in 2018 for "making terrorism propaganda" by sharing a news article on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Twitter back in 2016.

The politically motivated charges led to him being stripped of his parliamentary status on March 17 despite the lack of a final ruling from the Constitutional Court.

Gergerlioğlu has rejected the removal of his deputyship, saying that he received the votes of some 90,000 in the elections and that he represents their will.

In an unprecedented move, Gergerlioğlu refused to leave parliament premises after he was stripped of his status and started his resistance in the HDP's room. He spent four nights in the room.

Early on March 21, a large group of police officers entered parliament and detained Gergerlioğlu, who was in his pajamas and preparing for the morning prayers. He was not even allowed to put on his shoes and went to police headquarters in his slippers. He was released on the same day.

He was forcefully detained once again on April 2, with police officers battering the politician at his home. He was then hospitalized due to high blood pressure under police custody and put in intensive care, before police officers hastily took him out and transferred him to prison on April 3.

The Constitutional Court ruled on July 1 that Gergerlioğlu's rights were violated with his imprisonment on terrorism charges, opening the way for his release and restoration of his parliamentary status.

The top court said that Gergerlioğlu's right to be elected and engage in political activity as well as his right to personal freedom and security had been violated.

The deputy on July 16 shared pictures from parliament with his son Salih Gergerlioğlu, who defended his father's rights during his imprisonment. Gergerlioğlu was also detained last week and was battered by police. 

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu welcomed the deputy to parliament.

"Where were we?" Tanrıkulu asked, as he shared a picture together with Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu.