It is the Turkish government rather than Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) politicians who are really on trial in the Kobani case, said Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Ümit Dede in a new interview with the Mesopotamia Agency.
Dede described the case as a “conspiracy”, and said, “Even though six years have passed, the spirit of solidarity against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] will be revealed again with this trial.”
The first hearing of the Kobani case, which includes former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ among its 108 defendants, will be held on 26 April in the 22nd Heavy Penal Court in Ankara, Turkey. The indictment accuses 108 HDP politicians of homicide and disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state in connection with the Kobani protests of 6-8 October 2014 against the siege of Kobani by ISIS.
HDP Law Commission has been making preparations for the case since the indictment was accepted on 7 January. Commission co-chair Ümit Dede spoke to the Mesopotamia Agency about the preparations for the defence.
“We have started the preparations after the acceptance of the indictment, but we could not access the so-called ‘evidence’ and documents due to the confidentiality order in the file,” said Dede regarding preparations and noted that they received great support from various organisations and human rights defenders. “Besides the party commission, many law organisations and lawyers also individually requested to attend the hearing.”
Dede added, “Because from the very first moment, not only us, but all people who defend the principle of rule of law were aware that not only this case, but all the conspiracy cases launched against the HDP, are cases based on indictments prepared with the government’s political motivations in mind.”
‘This is a political trial’
Dede also mentioned the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding Selahattin Demirtaş.
“This decision proves there are political reasons behind these indictments and trials. The decision very clearly expressed that the trials against the HDP and all opponents are not legal but political, and that the structure and functioning of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors are against the law. The lifting of parliamentary immunity for HDP MPs is unconstitutional, and it is very clear that all these trials are political.”
They will struggle to reveal the real perpetrators of the events that took place in the October 6-8 Kobanê protests, Dede said, adding, “We will clearly say once more that political power is responsible for these events. We will prove it with documents and evidence in the courtroom.”
‘The government will be tried’
“Not the HDP but the government will be tried,” said Dede. “The politics of Turkey regarding the Middle East caused these events. Remember the 20 July Suruç Massacre, 10 October Ankara Massacre. The reason for all these massacres is due to the government’s policies towards the Middle East and Syria. We will clearly state this at the court stage, along with documents and evidence.”
Dede recalled the previous trials in Turkey against Kurdish politicians. “This is not the first time Turkish officials have tried to charge Kurds. However, we never give up struggling for democracy.”
Dede mentioned Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statements regarding Demirtaş.
“Even if Demirtaş has a right, we are not going to protect it, Erdoğan said. This proves the attitude of the AKP government towards us. They treat us like an enemy. In the past, of course, Kurds and their opponents were not being tried fairly, but the state was trying to cover it up. At this point, the president openly said that they will not protect the rights of Kurds. There is no fair judgment in Turkey, and this proves that fact. They are not trying to hide it anymore.”
Dede stated that the protests were against the siege of Kobani by ISIS and the world was behind the people of Kobani.
“The people who defended Kobani against ISIS will defend the HDP politicians as well. Because it was not only the HDP that made a statement about the resistance against ISIS in Kobani that day. Hundreds of institutions and individuals made similar statements. International institutions and organisations, from the United Nations to the Council of Europe, stated that the people of Kobani should be protected against attacks by ISIS. All the groups who raised their voices against ISIS that day will be in solidarity during this trial.”