'Where are you?': HDP urges Turkey's opposition to speak up against Gergerlioğlu's arrest

HDP deputy Hüda Kaya has urged Turkey's opposition parties to speak up against the mistreatment and arrest of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu. "Where are those who seek justice, equality and freedom? Tomorrow will be too late," she told Duvar English.

HDP deputy Hüda Kaya is seen speaking in parliament in this file photo.

Neşe İdil / Duvar English 

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Hüda Kaya has called on the opposition parties to raise their voices against the arrest of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, whose detention process saw mistreatment by police and human rights violations.

"Where are those who seek justice, equality and freedom? Tomorrow will be too late," Kaya told Duvar English on April 3, shortly after Gergerlioğlu was taken to the Sincan Prison in the capital Ankara. 

Former HDP lawmaker 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. 

Kaya told Duvar English that they don't question or complain about what happened to Gergerlioğlu since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) implements policies of oppression against those resisting it.

"We have experienced it throughout our lives and continue to do so. If you're against lies, oppression, unlawfulness and if you defend and struggle for peace, humanity, justice and freedom, you face consequences," Kaya said.

'CHP has a bigger responsibility' 

She then went on to criticize the silence of opposition parties, mainly the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). 

"Why are you silent? Where are the thousands who marched for rights, law and justice?" Kaya asked, referring to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's Justice March in 2107 that began after deputy Enis Berberoğlu was arrested and that was attended by thousands, including HDP deputies. 

"A deputy was battered and detained. He was taken out of intensive care by police. What else should happen for the opposition to react!" she said. 

According to Kaya, the CHP has a bigger responsibility when compared to the other parties since it's the main opposition. 

"I criticize all opposition parties, but the main opposition has a bigger responsibility. It should assume responsibility to bring the opposition together in solidarity," she said.

"Tomorrow will be too late. When will they speak up if not now? Why is the opposition not fulfilling its duties? This is what makes me angry and upset," the deputy noted. 

Kaya said that CHP officials previously called the HDP secretly to show support in various instances, but stressed that it's not enough to do it behind closed doors. 

"No one can escape the burden of not daring to speak up. They can't tell the people, 'We stood beside you and defended your rights. We did what we were supposed to for a common future and justice.' I haven't heard anyone saying, 'I'm here too, we reject this oppression,'" she noted.