Turkish police detain Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, will take him to prison

Police on April 2 detained Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who was stripped of his parliamentary status last month based on a politically motivated court case, and will take him to prison. "I'm still the deputy of the people," Gergerlioğlu said before being detained.

Duvar English

Police on April 2 detained Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who was stripped of his parliamentary status last month, and will take him to prison. 

Gergerlioğlu, a member of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), said that police officers arrived at his home and that he packed his belongings before getting imprisoned. 

"Police have brought me the arrest warrant. I told them to wait for me so I could get ready," Gergerlioğlu told broadcaster Artı TV before leaving his home. 

"A deputy is, unfortunately, getting arrested. This is a shame on Turkey and the government. I'm getting punished for objecting to unlawfulness. I didn't commit any crime," he said. 

His son Salih Gergerlioğlu on April 2 shared footage of the moment of his father's detention, which showed police officers not allowing the politician to put on his shoes and preventing him from speaking. 

"I'm still the deputy of the people," he was heard saying.

Salih Gergerlioğlu said that he brought the shoes to his father later on and shared a picture. 

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a physician and longtime human rights advocate, was stripped of his parliamentary status on March 17 for sharing a news article about the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Twitter in 2016. He was found guilty in February 2018 of “spreading terrorism propaganda” on the basis of the social media post.

Turkey’s top appeals court upheld the conviction and sentence of two years and six months in prison on Feb. 19. On March 15, Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop had indicated that steps to strip Gergerlioğlu of his seat may be imminent, though Gergerlioğlu has filed a Constitutional Court challenge to the prosecution against him.

Gergerlioğlu has rejected the removal of his deputyship, saying that the Constitutional Court hasn't issued a final ruling in his case. He also noted 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. "Not leaving parliament, acting as if he is still a deputy, making press statements on social media and staying in a public building although he has no right to" were cited as the reasons for his detention. 

"Let me pray and change my clothes. We can go afterwards," Gergerlioğlu told police officers, but his requests were rejected. 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.