An international committee has arrived in Ankara to monitor the trial of 108 members of Turkey's second biggest opposition party.
Activists and international committee representatives issued a press statement after the first hearing of the Kobani trial, in which Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members, including former co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, are to be tried over the 6-8 October 2014 Kobani protests in Turkey.
Francis Alfonsi, a member of the Kurdish Friendship Group in the European Parliament (EP), said, “Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we continue our protests in Europe. We are here to raise solidarity with the HDP and demand the release of Selahattin Demirtaş.”
Alfonsi stressed the importance of the democratisation of Turkey. “This would improve democracy in Europe as well,” he said.
He added: “We have seen that this is the political case of the dictator. They did not respect the defence lawyers. They filled the courtroom with police and soldiers. We hope that all jailed defendants will be released at the end of this case.”
MEP Brando Benifei, Italian Democratic Party Head of Delegation in the EP, said that on Monday’s hearing we saw “an example of the dictatorial regime of Erdoğan.”
Benifei continued: “We clearly state that we are in solidarity with the HDP and we are against the dictatorial regime of Erdoğan.”
MEP Ana Miranda Paz of the Greens/EFA, a member of Spain’s Galician Nationalist Bloc, described the Kobani case as a “political drama” which has been put on stage as part of the “criminalisation” efforts targeting the HDP.
“We try to begin a dialogue, but how can you build a dialogue with a dictator? What we have witnessed is a political drama, but the EP will not allow the criminalisation of the HDP within this regard,” she said.
Eric Coquerel, representing La France Insoumise, said that the first reason they arrived in Ankara was to “share international solidarity” with the HDP.
“The second reason is to show the political process in Turkey and prove that human rights are violated in Turkey,” he said. “The government, which is an authoritarian regime, has instrumentalised the judiciary.”
He went on: “We know the reason for charging the HDP is because of their solidarity with the Kurds in Kobani. We know that the Kurds waged a battle against the jihadists in Kobani. That is why we cannot understand the silence of the French government.”
Maciej Konieczny, of the left-wing Together Party in Poland, shared his thoughts on the attitude of the judges at the first hearing. “The judge did not even care to look impartial. There was no fair trial,” he said. “The world needs to see this injustice we witnessed in that courtroom.”
Catalan politician Marta Rosique, member of the Congress of Deputies of Spain, said, “We have seen what a political trial is. This case should have never been opened. The only goal of the case is to criminalise the Kurdish movement and the HDP.”
The trial has been adjourned until 3 May.