"I am not a Kurd. I lost my mandate because I worked for a solution to the Kurdish question," said ousted HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu in Ankara. Tomorrow he is to begin serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu is due to begin serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence on Thursday. The HDP's lawsuit against the revocation of his deputy mandate has been assigned by the Constitutional Court. His personal lawsuit before Turkey's highest court against his conviction remains pending.
Gergerlioğlu announced today at a press conference at HDP headquarters in Ankara that he would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. The withdrawal of his parliamentary mandate was unlawful, which is why he has been "in civil resistance" for two weeks, the politician said in the presence of other HDP deputies and members. During this time, he said, he has received support from broad circles at home and abroad. "Therefore, I am not at all very hopeless and pessimistic," Gergerlioğlu said. If he is imprisoned, he said, his struggle will be continued by others.
In Turkey, countless HDP members have been arrested, and Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğlulları have also been stripped of their parliamentary status, Gergerlioğlu continued: "This has not solved the Kurdish question either. I would like to say something to the Turkish people; the Kurdish question has not been triggered by the Kurdish people, but by the state's actions. It is the other peoples and not the Kurdish people who have to solve this problem. I appeal to the entire society of Turkey: I am not a Kurd. I lost my job because I worked for a solution to the Kurdish question. We have to solve the problem together. It is the children of all of us who are dying. I can be thrown into prison now; many of our colleagues are already there. However, it will not solve anything."
"Wouldn't it be better if no one had to die?"
Gergerlioğlu was deprived of his parliamentary mandate two weeks ago due to a final judgment on terror charges. In February, the Turkish Court of Cassation had confirmed a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence against the 55-year-old for his appeals for peace directed at both the Turkish state and the Kurdish movement. The judiciary interprets the advocacy of peace - in this specific case in the form of a retweet from 2016 - as terror propaganda.
The basis of the charges against Gergerlioğlu was initially a message of peace. The politician, who is actually a doctor by profession and a specialist in lung diseases, became involved with the peace platform in Kocaeli after the peace negotiations with the Kurdish movement were unilaterally ended by the Turkish government in 2015. On the initiative's social media accounts, Gergerlioğlu posted peace messages almost daily, including on Oct. 9, 2016, when he posted a photo showing a posed scene during a 2015 World Day of Peace event: several women can be seen, with two coffins in the foreground. In one, a Turkish soldier, in the other a PKK fighter, who can be identified by corresponding flags on the coffins. Under the picture, Gergerlioğlu wrote: "This war exhausts society. One child joins the army, another joins the PKK, both die. Wouldn't it be better if the two didn't lie next to each other as corpses, but lived as equals, shoulder to shoulder?"