Fifth Demirtas Hearing Takes Place Two Weeks Before Election

Written by Margaret Owen (pictured), International Trial Observer and Barrister

Margaret 2018
Friday 8th June

I have returned to Istanbul in order to observe the fifth hearing of the trial of former HDP co-chair: Selahattin Demirtas. Given that Turkey’s presidential election is only two weeks away, we the international observers, anticipate a final verdict.Selahattin Demirtas has been detained since November 2016 in Edirne prison under anti-terror law. He faces numerous charges and is accused of making terrorist propaganda.
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Further Updates from the Trials of Selahattin Demirtas

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Demirtas

 

Written by Margaret Owen, International Trial Observer and Barrister

Monday 16th AprilMorning in Istanbul starts cold and cloudy. The HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) members collect my UK solicitor colleague, Ali Has, and myself at 7 am from our hotel, for the long drive to the Silivri prison complex. On the way we pick up the Assyrian Swedish MP, Yilmaz Kerimo, vice-chair of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, and further along the route we collect one of Demirtas’ top Lawyers, Ramzan Demir.

 

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Turkey: International Observers Denied Access to Demirtas’ Trial As Arrests and Detentions Continue

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Myself and the other international observers were in a sombre mood as we boarded the bus that would take us to the Sincan prison court so we could watch the trial of Selahattin Demirtas. This was due to developments in Turkey over the past few days and most of us expected that, despite assurances given to us last December, we would not be granted admission to the trial.

Upon arriving at our destination these grave expectations were proven correct. We were not allowed to enter the court. Our party joined the crowds of angry people, including diplomats who were British, Canadian, US, Norwegian, Danish, the foreign press and solidarity action groups, in pushing at the gate, hoping to get inside the courtroom.

IMG_1447(From left to right) Margaret outside court with Bente Knagenhjelm and Ali Has

 

IMG_2697(From right to left) Margaret outside court with Leila Khaled, Michel Laurent and Sylvie Jan France

 

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Background on the Trial of Selahattin Demirtas

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Demirtas

 Monday 12th February 2018

Written by Margaret Owen, International Trial Observer and Barrister

On 4th November 2016, the Co-Chair of Turkey’s pro Kurdish political party, the HDP (the Peoples’ Democratic Party), Selahattin Demirtas (pictured) was arrested and kept in pre-trial detention at Edirne prison under the country’s anti-terror law. On Wednesday 14th February 2018, in Ankara Demirtas will appear before a court as part of his ongoing trial. I am a member of a delegation from the UK that hopes to observe proceedings as they unfold.

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HDP: Extend your condolences to the people, not to the Turkish state

HDP-Logo

12 October 2015

CALL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY BY HDP

On October 10th, a Peace Rally that brought together many civil society organizations, revolutionary unions, and progressive and democratic parties, among them HDP, was the target of a horrendous attack. Unfortunately, at least 128 of our fellow citizens were murdered in this attack, and hundreds wounded. We are concerned that the death toll may rise, as 48 among the wounded are in critical condition. This attack will go down as one of the bloodiest in the history of our republic. Continue reading

The Battle for Turkey’s Presidency


Frontline Club event on 25 July 2014

It is just over a year since protests to save Istanbul’s Gezi Park escalated after being met by an uncompromising stance from the government and a police crackdown. What started as an environmental movement became a wider protest against the perceived increased authoritarianism of the country’s leader.

As the protests continue and with the country due to vote in the first round of the presidential elections in early August, we will be bringing together a panel to gauge the political climate. With accusations of cronyism and mass corruption inside the government, we will explore what the protestors are fighting for and how much support they have across the country.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced large-scale criticism following his reaction to the industrial disaster that killed over 300 miners. We will be asking how much support he still maintains in the country and if he is to contest and win the election what does this mean for Turkey?

Chaired by Murat Nisancioglu, the head of Turkish Service at BBC Global News.

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Demirtas addresses BDP group meeting about peace talks

Co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Selahattin Demirtas addressed the BDP group meeting on Tuesday with an in-depth discussion on the renewed negotiations between the Turkish state and the PKK. Below is a translated version of the full speech:

Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chair of the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) addresses his party’s parliamentary group meeting on “the Imrali processs” on 8 January 2013

Dear friends,

Today, in our group meeting we would like to share our thoughts, suggestions and approaches to the process which has been under intense discussion for about a week now and has been dubbed ‘the Imrali process’ (i.e. negotiations with Abdullah Ocalan in the name of the Kurdish question, translator’s note) Of course, we are talking about 30 ongoing years of blood and tears with a history of almost 100 years of deep-rooted historical, social, political, cultural and economic problems. The Imrali process is not a topic that popped up today and will be gone tomorrow. At the present stage, everyone should evaluate and debate with a cool head. We should foster hope where it exists, we should criticise the weak points where they exist, everyone should sincerely debate how to bring about an honorable peace with dialogue and negotiation as well as a solution that is bloodless, weaponless and nonviolent. This is our basic intention and approach.Every suggestion and criticism that we will share with you today is rooted in this intention and approach.With us today are the constituents of the HDK (English: Peoples Democratic Congress) and the Left Green Party.

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Clashes in Amed, 14 July

Eleven police forces equipped with gas grenades, water cannons, truncheons and tanks descended onto Amed last Saturday and clashed with Kurdish protesters calling for the release of Abdullah Ocalan.

As Firat News reports:

Police severely attacked the people joining the “Freedom for Öcalan” rally in Diyarbakır on 14 July.

TOMA type vehicles, gas bombs and pressure water was used against the mass in the meeting area. Many people, including dozens of children, three Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies and Mayor Osman Baydemir were reported injured in attacks.

Thousands of people who had gathered at five separate points broke the police barricade around the meeting area where clashes were reported to last for long hours. Continue reading