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We could use the metaphore of « musi­cal chairs » con­cern­ing the arrests and lib­er­a­tions of these last three days if they didn’t con­sti­tute lit­er­al politi­co-judi­cia­ry harass­ment under police rule.

Sun­day Jan­u­ary 29 :

Three elect­ed mem­bers of the HDP, Hüda Kaya (Istan­bul), Altan Tan (Diyarbakır) and Mer­al Danış Beş­taş (Adana), were placed under police cus­tody on Jan­u­ary 29, in con­nec­tion with an inquest on events that occurred in Kobane in – believe it or not – Sep­tem­ber 6–7 2014.
Fol­low­ing their inter­ro­ga­tions, the Tri­bunal released them on probation.

Ayhan Bil­gen an elect­ed mem­ber from Kars, was then arrest­ed at Ankara Air­port on Jan­u­ary 29, placed under police cus­tody in Diyarbakir, then released after inter­ro­ga­tion. Ziya Pir, elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Diyarbakır, wor­ried yes­ter­day: “Ayhan’s phone is still incom­mu­ni­ca­do. He hasn’t shown up in the court house. He may still be in custody”

Mon­day Jan­u­ary 30 :

The State Pros­e­cu­tor for Diyarbakır protest­ed against the deci­sion to free Mer­al and Ayhan. Fol­low­ing his demand, the Court reviewed its deci­sion and Mer­al and Ayhan were thus remand­ed into cus­tody again on Jan­u­ary 30, and jailed for « mem­ber­ship in a ter­ror­ist organization ».

Mer­al bare­ly had time to twit­ter : “I was in the court house in Diyarbakir until the end of the day. On return­ing home, I learned that a new arrest had been ordered against me. Our strug­gle for democ­ra­cy will endure.” 

Last­ly, Ayhan Bil­gen was jailed after hear­ing it live through pre-regime media announc­ing he was under arrest and in jail, before the arrest occurred. All this before pro­ce­dures even start­ed in the judi­cia­ry city…

Ayhan Bil­gen is arrest­ed”, Ayhan learn­ing on Turk­ish CNN Türk of his future arrest.


On this same day, Lez­gin Botan, elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Van, joined the list. He was tak­en into cus­tody, inter­ro­gat­ed then released. Accused of “pro­pa­gan­da for a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion », of « mem­ber­ship in a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion » and of « incite­ment to crime », his sen­tenc­ing at tri­al car­ries the risk of a prison term last­ing from eleven to forty years…

Mean­while, Idris Baluken, elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Diyarbakır, leader of the par­lia­men­tary group of the HDP was released on parole from the Kandıra jail in Diyarbakır, as we announced in an ear­li­er arti­cle, where we attempt­ed to clar­i­fy the num­ber of HDP elect­ed mem­bers present­ly behind bars in Turkey.

The elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Urfa for the HDP, Ibrahim Ayhan pub­lished the fol­low­ing on his Twit­ter account : “In order to build up pres­sure for the ref­er­en­dum, the gov­ern­ing pow­er is prac­tic­ing the ter­ror­ism of cus­tody and arrests”

This harass­ment could be tak­en as a con­se­quence of the dis­in­te­gra­tion of the judi­cia­ry machin­ery, fol­low­ing the purges. In recent times, we have seen the des­ti­tu­tion fol­lowed by arrest of a num­ber of judges, fol­low­ing their court deci­sions, and of sev­er­al lawyers also.

But although this is a fact, there is still an appar­ent con­ti­nu­ity in the will to pur­sue a « polit­i­cal geno­cide of the oppo­si­tion » begun in mid-2015.

The pro­ce­dures involve files begun as ear­ly as 2013 against polit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and in which the anti-ter­ror­ism act of June 2016 is now being invoked, fol­low­ing the lift­ing of their par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty on the « advice » of the Pres­i­dent, fol­low­ing the July putsch.

There­fore, behind this sim­u­lacrum of impro­vi­sa­tion, there is the mark of polit­i­cal harass­ment at the high­est lev­el, and of the zeal of the exe­cu­tion­ers includ­ing those of the judi­cia­ry body, now trans­formed into a tri­bunal of injustice.

If to all this we add the approach­ing ref­er­en­dum « under the state of emer­gency » which the HDP is fight­ing, we under­stand bet­ter the « revolv­ing door » pol­i­cy that jus­tice has become for HDP activists. Those who are in jail can­not lead the cam­paign. The oth­ers, released on parole, are advised « not to make mat­ters worse » for them­selves and, it is hoped at the Palace, will keep qui­et. This is also the rea­son for which we insist on the word ‘hostages’ for those detained in Erdogan’s jails.

In this seem­ing cir­cus, com­pli­ant media play their role, either as zeal­ous « crows », mobi­lized in the name of nation­al uni­ty, either as pro­pa­gan­dists of the « regime’s com­pas­sion ». One gets lost in the wil­ful­ly con­tra­dic­to­ry infor­ma­tion, and we can only rec­om­mend, yet again, to avoid cut­ting and past­ing agency reports, so clear­ly do they emanate from the Palace.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges.
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.