EU Commission: Demirtas case reflects rights violations 

EU Commission Deputy Chairperson Federica Mogherini said, “The Demirtas case reflects rights violations in Turkey. At a time of outstanding challenges to Turkey, the approach in practices is a contradiction.”

In accordance with the agreement representatives from political parties in the European Parliament reached, the situation of imprisoned former HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtas was discussed in the EP general assembly with EU representatives present. EU Commission Deputy Chairperson Federica Mogherini spoke about the European Court of Humans Rights (ECHR) ruling for Demirtas and added the following: 


“The ECHR has issued a ruling in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, as a convention and an organ of not the EU, but the council of Europe, of which Turkey is a founding member. Turkey complying with the ruling is not connected to the EU accession goal, but compliance with the ECHR which the country is party to. The Demirtas case is an issue for us as the EU Commission. This case reflects the human rights violations in Turkey in a way. In fact, at a time of outstanding challenges to Turkey, the approach in practices is a contradiction. Like in this case, the presumption of innocence is violated. Demirtas’s imprisonment, especially as an opposition leader, is a clear violation of human rights. The ECHR also deemed the Demirtas case to be a violation of the right to free elections and the right to elect governing officials and issued a ruling in accordance. Turkey’s government needs to comply with the requirements.”

Mogherini spoke again by the end of the discussion and spoke to the EP members: “Thank you for your solidarity. Continue this work so democracy can flourish in Turkey. We support this initiative by the EP. The ECHR ruling needs to be implemented.”


EP Rapporteur for Turkey Kati Piri said the following:

“Demirtas has been targeted for being a hope for Turkish and Kurdish youth and their expectations in the realm of the opposition.

Here I would like to send a special message to Demirtas’s wife: We as the EP stand with you, and we will continue to do so.

It might seem easier for some to govern without any opposition, but all should know that that is not how things work in democracies.”


Marie-Christine Vergiat spoke in the name of the EP United Left Group and said:

“Today Selahattin Demirtas has a hearing in Ankara. The sentence asked for him is around 150 years. Leyla Guven is on a hunger strike. The situation in Turkey is concerning.

Mr. Erdogan should know that Mr. Demirtas and his friends are emblematic of the human rights violations in Turkey.”

Social Democratic MP from the UK July Word siad the following:

“HDP is our sister party. I am a friend to the Kurdish people, just as I am a friend to the Turkish people. Demirtas should be released at once. This is what the ECHR has said.”


MEPs from various countries and political groups pointed out that Turkey has turned into a semi-closed prison state, what is important is what the EU will do if Turkey doesn’t comply, there should be concrete precautions and sanctions and that there is a regime problem in Turkey.