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Joan Ryan MP condemns the arrest and detention of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs in Turkey

Joan Ryan MP has condemned the arrest and detention of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs in Turkey.

In the early hours of Friday 4th November, the two joint leaders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaș and Figen Yüksekdağ, along with at least 10 other HDP parliamentary colleagues, were arrested and detained in Turkey.

I absolutely condemn the arrests of the Kurdish officials and senior politicians. 

Turkey cannot claim to be a democracy if democratically elected representatives are arrested with impunity.

What we are seeing is a draconian crackdown on the freedom of expression - in a democracy people are entitled to dissent.

Many Enfield North residents of Kurdish and Alevi origin fear for the safety and well-being of their friends and family in Turkey. 

This is not acceptable.

The situation is intolerable.

President Erdogan and the Turkish authorities need to act immediately to restore justice and safeguard Turkey's democracy. 

We must raise our voices for justice and human rights, for democracy and dignity, for life and liberty in Turkey.

At the earliest opportunity on Monday 7th November, I raised these issues in Parliament by tabling an Early Day Motion (EDM) and writing to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. See below for the full text of my EDM.

Early Day Motion 653: ‘Political and Human Rights Situation in Turkey’

“That this House is gravely concerned by the arrest and imprisonment of Members of Parliament from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), including the HDP Co-Chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag, in Turkey on 4 November 2016; agrees with the statement from the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, that these arrests compromise parliamentary democracy in Turkey; notes that hundreds of other Kurdish members and officials from HDP and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) have also been detained and imprisoned in recent months; further notes that since the attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016, President Erdogan and the Turkish government have imposed greater restrictions on the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press, as well as threatened the independence of the judiciary; believes that the current situation in Turkey is undermining democracy and the chances of resolving the Kurdish issue; urges the Turkish authorities to respect the rule of law and the fundamental rights of all of its citizens, including Kurds, Alevis and other minority groups; and calls on the Government and the Council of Europe to make representations to the Turkish government expressing serious concern at the imprisonment of the HDP MPs, the suspension of provisions within the European Convention on Human Rights and President Erdogan's support for the reintroduction of the death penalty.”



Further Reading:

  1. Early Day Motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. However, very few are actually debated. EDMs allow MPs to draw attention to an event or cause. MPs register their support by signing individual motions.
  2. The statement by the European Union’s High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner Johannes Hahn on the detention of several HDP Members, including the party's co-chairs, can be found here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-3608_en.htm

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