Leyla Guven, co-chair of the Democratic Society Party. Photo: HDP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A detained lawmaker from the Turkish parliament has gone on hunger strike after a court extended her detention in a hearing on Wednesday.
A Turkish court in Diyarbakir ruled against the release of Leyla Guven, an MP for the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), in a hearing of her trial.
DTK ran on a joint list with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the June 24 election. Guven won a seat, but has not been sworn in due to her arrest.
She was arrested on January 31 after opposing Turkey’s military offensive against the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.
HDP had appealed for her release in September, arguing she should be given the same consideration as a CHP lawmaker who was released
after being elected and, therefore, gaining parliamentary immunity.
Her lawyer, Reyhan Yalcindag-Baydemir, told Bianet new agency that Guven has gone on an “indefinite and irreversible hunger strike” to protest being denied a fair trial.
HDP’s former leaders, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, are among the many party members and supporters in jail in Turkey. The party condemned the court’s decision on Wednesday.
“The Turkish fascist government did not release Leyla Guven. We already did not have hope in this regard. The court had previously ordered her release, but after four hours another court dissolved the ruling. When it comes to Kurdish politicians, the court gives various orders,” Berdan Ozturk told journalists in front of the court.
Guven and Ozturk are also co-chairs of the DTK.
Ozturk said Guven told the judge she did not regret her opposition to the Turkish offensive on Afrin and stands opposed to military action against Kobane, where Turkey has shelled rural areas and made threats this past week.
“Guven said, ‘I expressed my opposition to the Afrin operation, that’s why I’m here. If released, I will describe your operations in Kobane as an invasion,’” Ozturk recounted.
Guven attended the court hearing remotely via video after she refused to be handcuffed.
Prosecutors are demanding 31 years and six months jail for “propagating for a terrorist organization,” referring to People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria – considered by the Turkish government as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Guven’s trial will continue on December 26.