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Police attacked women at rally for HDP deputies in Istanbul

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Turkish police fired plastic bullets, baton-charged and detained several women protesting about the arrest of the HDP deputies, last week.

Women had flocked to the Kadıköy Pier Square to rally against the new detentions. HDP MPs Pervin Buldan and Hüda Kaya attended the protest and women’s organisations from EHP, EMEP, Feminist, SODAP, Yeni Demokrat Kadın also supported it. The demonstration went on under a heavy police presence: women carried banners with photos of female politicians from HDP and DBP.

One of the few HDP deputies not to be arrested, was Ertuğrul Kürkçü, who was in Bulgaria the day of the raids. We reached him on the phone, while he was travelling to Brussels. We asked him how he would define this new strike by the Turkish authorities.

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What happened on 4 November is clear: our co-chairs and MPs have been taken hostage by the Erdoğan regime”, he said. Kürkçü added that “The government justification that the police has brought our MPs to justice is totally false. What we witnessed - he continued - is a coup, staged by the Erdoğan regime to unlawfully cracking down on the HDP”.

For Kurkçu this crackdown has two goals: First it seeks to discredit the central political figures - particularly from among the Kurdish members - of the HDP, to bend their will, disorganize the party structure and fuel disagreements inside the party. The second goal according to the HDP deputy is “to undermine the HDP's popularity among the Kurdish masses in order to guarantee the 51 percent vote in a possible referendum for the presidential rule Erdoğan is tailoring for his own sultanate”.

It has to be noted that the HDP, according to successive monthly public opinion polls, even after a year of incessant pressure, demonization, stigmatization and criminalization still hold its 11 percent political support it had in the 1 November 2015 elections. “The HDP - said Kürkçü - is still the spike in Erdoğan's heel, and this is the basic reason behind all these and possible attacks on the party”.

On 4 November HDP Co-Chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag, along with ten further Members of Parliament (MP), namely Nursel Aydogan, Idris Baluken, Leyla Birlik, Ferhat Encü, Selma Irmak, Sirri Süreyya Önder, Ziya Pir, Imam Tascier, Gülser Yildirim and Abdullah Zeydan, were detained across Turkey.

On 5 November, Demirtas, Yüksekdag, Aydogan, Baluken, Birlik, Encü, Irmak, Zeydan and Yildirim were arrested by court order and sent to prison. Pir, Önder and Tascier have been released on probation. The goal of these measures is to shut down the third largest party in parliament.

 

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