Defendant: We are accused over our messages against ISIS
One of the defendands in the "Kobani trial," in which 108 members and officials of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) are facing court in Turkey, said in the hearing session on Thursday that "they are being tried for having tweeted messages against the Islamic State."
The defendants, including former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, are accused by the prosecution of instigating violence in the context of demonstrations in October 2014 through social media messages that called for mass protests against the isolation imposed on Syria's Kurdish city of Kobani, besieged and under constant attack by the Islamic State (ISIS) at the time.
In the session at Ankara's 22nd heavy penal court, Alp Altinors, former member of HDP's central executive council and an opinion writer for +Gercek, said that they are actually accused over a call for a democratic protest.
"Nothing further can be added if you are saying, 'this court is a sharia court.' We had struggled against ISIS, and made a call accordingly. This is true, and everything else are lies."
"We are accused of having participated in a meeting of a legal party. What's at the center of accusations in this court is tweeting messages against ISIS. We are accused, paradoxically, of being members of a terrorist organization although we had made a call against a terrorist organization."
The "Kobani Case"
The case involves deadly incidents allegedly linked with 2014 demonstrations that had begun in solidarity with the residents of Kobani.
After the largest demonstrations had been staged on 6 October, and following a live address by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who made a remark about 'Kobane falling soon,' violent incidents ensued the next day, during which dozens were killed, most of them HDP supporters.
The case has turned into a convenient tool for prosecuting and jailing Kurdish political figures including the 2016 arrest of Demirtas and Yuksekdag. They are accused of instigating violence that resulted in multiple deaths.