Fake phone call to distress Demirtas not an offense: Turkish prosecution

Fake phone call to distress Demirtas not an offense: Turkish prosecution
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The Turkish prosecution has rejected investigation into an incident in which a woman faked imprisoned Selahattin Demirtas's wife, and said his daughter was in critical condition after a traffic accident.

A sinister fake call apparently intended to alarm and distress imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas was brought to light as the Turkish prosecution dismissed a criminal complaint over the incident, Medyascope's Ferit Aslan reported on Thursday.

The incident, which took place on 31 October 2022, was exposed two and a half months later in the context of a communication by the prosecution in dismissal of the criminal complaint filed by the lawyers of Demirtas against the perpetrator, Aslan said.

A woman who called Edirne prison on 31 October and deceivingly identified herself as Basak Demirtas, Selahattin Demirtas's wife, told the respondent in an excited and worried tone that she wanted to speak to Selahattin Demirtas. Upon being told that it would not be allowed, she went on telling that she and her daughters had a traffic accident, that her elder daughter was severely injured, and that they would not be able to visit Selahattin Demirtas.

Demirtas was informed by the prison administration of the phone call, and was allowed to call his mother, who said she did not have any knowledge about the traffic accident. While the mother and Demirtas's siblings were sent into panic, the prison administration eventually informed Selahattin Demirtas that the phone call was fake.

It was found out in the ensuing investigation that the call was made from the phone of a 56-year-old woman named S.P. who lived in the Yakutiye district of the eastern province of Erzurum.

"S.P. is a woman who presents herself as one engaged in political activities and a supporter of the ruling Justice and Development Party," Aslan said.

The suspect told the prosecution that the phone number did belong to her, but she did not call Edirne prison, nor did she have any idea about who might have called.

The criminal complaint regarding the incident was recently dismissed by the prosecution, who said the attributed act did not constitute an offense covered by the Turkish penal code, and that there is no need for further investigation.

Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), has been incarcerated in Edirne prison since November 2016, and has been denied release despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights ordering his immediate release.

Demirtas has been subjected to spurious "terror" accusations both by state officials and government media, and to numerous hate messages on social media.