HDP MP Besime Konca and spokesman Osman Baydemir face continued legal pressure from Turkish authorities. Composite photo: HDP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Turkey has continued its roundup of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members, announcing an arrest warrant for its spokesman on Tuesday and re-arresting a member of parliament from Siirt.
Turkish authorities announced they had issued an arrest warrant for HDP’s spokesperson on Tuesday, according to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News. The HDP previously had announced that Osman Baydemir was to deliver a speech at the party's parliamentary group meeting today.
The reason for the warrant was not immediately clear. Baydemir was a former member of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which joined the HDP in 2014.
Besime Konca, a lawmaker from Siirt in the southeastern Kurdish majority area of Batman was arrested yesterday on terror charges, after being released pending trial just days before.
Konca, an HDP parliamentarian was re-arrested for “membership of an armed terror organization” and “engaging in terror propaganda” for alleged connections with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is considered a terror organization by Turkish authorities, as reported by the Turkish Dogan News Agency (DHA).
Konca was detained at the Batman Airport on Monday and sent back to jail to await trial. Originally arrested for the same charges on December 13, 2016, Konca was released on May 3 only to have another arrest warrant issued five days later by a high criminal court.
BBC Turkish reported Konce as describing to journalists the five-month-long judiciary process in Turkey as "lawlessness," adding "this is an embarrassing sign."
HDP released a statement on Konce's detainment for the third time, saying she was traveling to do "routine work" and was headed to the meeting in Batman on May 31.
"This political commitment to arrest Besime Konca has once again proved that the judicial system works with instructions," read the statement. "Besime Konca should be released immediately."
Newly elected HDP co-chair Serpil Kemalbay told Rudaw on May 20 that the party has to rethink its policies in Turkey in light of the outcome of the Turkish referendum held on April 16 that shifted Turkey's system to a presidential one with sweeping powers in the hands of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the resumed clashes between PKK and the Turkish state since July 2015, and the general elections in 2015 which for the first time saw a pro-Kurdish party enter the Turkish parliament.
In November 2016, the then co-leaders of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, and a number of other MPs were arrested after the Turkish parliament voted earlier in the year to lift parliamentary immunity from a select group of MPs, many of whom have been accused by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the president of having ties with the banned PKK, a charge the HDP has vehemently denied.