ECHR finds Turkey guilty of violating rights of pro-Kurdish HDP deputies, sets heavy fines
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday ruled that Turkey has violated rights of 13 HDP deputies, including former co-Chair Figen Yuksekdag by unjustly arresting them.
The ECHR said that the freedom of expression of the deputies and their right to vote and to be elected were violated.
The court also ruled that Turkey should pay a total of 184,600 euros in non-pecuniary damages to 13 deputies.
On Nov.4, 2016, Turkey arrested several Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputies including former co-Chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag on terrorism charges over alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Ruling over Demirtas’ detention previously and calling on Turkish authorities for his immediate release in 2020, the European court on Tuesday announced its decision over Yuksekdag and the rest 12 HDP deputies. Turkey also has lifted all arrested deputies’ parliamentary immunities, whom were elected in November 2015 parliamentary elections.
Along with Yuksekdag, the ECHR ruling included Idris Baluken, Besime Konca, Abdullah Zeydan, Nihat Akdogan, Selma Irmak, Ferhat Encu, Gulser Yildirim, Nursel Aydogan, Caglar Demirel, Ayhan Bilgen, Burcu Celik and Leyla Birlik.
Since 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government intensified a crackdown on the HDP, arresting thousands of party members over terrorism charges. Almost all of HDP’s 65 elected mayors are dismissed and replaced by government-appointed trustees.
Turkish government blames HDP of having links with the PKK, an armed group fighting an insurgency against Turkish military since 1984 for Kurdish autonomous rights. HDP that denies the charges is also facing closure threats.