HDP MPs Osman Baydemir and Selma Irmak were stripped of their parliamentary membership on Thursday. Photo: HDP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Turkish parliament has revoked the membership of two more deputies from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Osman Baydemir and Selma Irmak, after they were convicted and sentenced on criminal charges.
“The first move for the snap elections of the infamous AKP-MHP coalition was to strip Osman Baydemir and Selma Irmak of their parliamentary membership. Baydemir & Irmak will continue to represent the peoples; while those who usurped the will of the peoples will vanish in history,” HDP tweeted on Thursday.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the ruling AKP, announced on Wednesday a snap election for June 24. The move was backed by the nationalist MHP.
Baydemir, who represents Urfa, was accused of insulting the police when he was governor of Diyarbakir in 2012. His conviction was upheld by a Gaziantep court on February 23, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
He was given one year, five months and 15 days in jail.
Baydemir caused a stir late last year when he declared in the Turkish parliament that Kurdistan exists in his heart, earning himself a suspension from the legislature.
Irmak, who represents Hakkari, was sentenced to 10 years by a Turkish court in Gaziantep for “being a member of an armed terror organization” and “propagating for a terror organization.”
Eleven of HDP’s deputies have now been stripped of their parliamentary membership, leaving them with 48 sitting MPs since the parliament voted in 2016 to lift immunity from a select group of lawmakers facing criminal convictions.
Most of the HDP members ousted from the legislature were convicted of ties to the PKK, a named terror organization. HDP supports the Kurdish struggle in Turkey, but denies the PKK link.
Jailed HDP deputies include the party’s former leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.
Once an MP’s sentence is upheld by the Court of Appeal, the prime minister can send a letter to the parliament, demanding it strip the MP of his or her membership.
Ayhan Bilgen, HDP spokesperson, told Rudaw on April 5 that “Whenever it [the letter] is sent to the parliament, it will be under the authority of the speaker of the parliament” to drop the membership of the MP.