HDP politicians in exile react to Kobanê Case verdict: Solidarity is a political and moral duty

The HDP politicians in exile announced their determination to continue their struggle for rights and justice unceasingly until all those sentenced in Kobanê Case and those whose trials are ongoing regain their freedom.


The verdict was announced on May 16 in the Kobanê Conspiracy Case, which was opened 7 years after the protests against ISIS attacks on Kobanê on 6-8 October 2014 and continued for 4 years. The Ankara 22nd High Criminal Court ruled for the release of 5 people and acquitted 15 people in the case where 108 people, 18 of whom are imprisoned, are on trial. While 13 of them are to remain in prison, former HDP Co-Chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ were sentenced to 42 and 30 years and 4 months in prison respectively. The court did not find 36 defendants, including Demirtaş, responsible for the loss of life during the protests in various cities and acquitted them.

The HDP politicians in exile released a statement reacting to the sentences in the Kobanê Case and calling for sanctions against Europe.

"We strongly reject and do not recognise the unlawful and cruel sentences given to our co-chairs, MPs and members of the Central Executive Committee (MYK), including us, who are on trial in the Kobanê Conspiracy Case. We announce our determination to continue our struggle for rights and justice unceasingly until all our comrades who have been convicted in this and other bogus cases and whose trials are ongoing regain their freedom,” the politicians said.

The statement released on Friday said the following:

“The "Kobanê Conspiracy Case" was nothing but a plot fabricated 7 years after the 6-8 October 2014 "Kobanê Protests", under the guidance of the Anti-Terrorism (TEM) Department of the General Directorate of Security, in order to form the basis for the lawsuit that the AKP-MHP fascist ruling partners planned to file with the Constitutional Court in order to shut down the HDP. The TEM letter, which was addressed to the prosecutor and then forgotten in the file, contained the recommendation that the 7 targeted MPs and 91 other 'suspects' should be charged with 'violent offences' to provide evidence in the closure case, and the indictment followed this recommendation to the letter.

These allegations were so flimsy, so fabricated, so baseless that the Ankara 22nd High Criminal Court, in its verdict announced on 16 May, was forced to admit that the charges against those on trial for the attacks and destruction that allegedly took place on 6-8 October 2014, resulting in the deaths of 37 citizens, most of them HDP members, were essentially fabricated and to acquit all HDP members under these charges.

The only connection that the prosecution could establish between this plot and the HDP was the message posted on 6 October 2014 on the HDP headquarters Twitter account: 'The situation in Kobanê is extremely critical. We invite our people to take to the streets and support those who have already taken to the streets in protest against the embargo attitude of the AKP government." Upon the application of HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR ruled that this message did not constitute an offence and fell within the scope of freedom of expression.

However, the court in Ankara did not hesitate to violate the ECtHR judgement in line with Erdoğan's instructions, which he did not hesitate to have published by the media. Because of this message, it sentenced HDP politicians to decades in prison for 'committing an act aimed at separating part of the territory under the sovereignty of the state from the state administration', for 'leadership or membership of an illegal organisation' on the basis of 'secret witness' statements, and for 'making propaganda for an illegal organisation' for various statements that were merged with this case. HDP’s elected officials were penalised for fulfilling their democratic duties to those who elected them under the European Convention on Human Rights, for upholding the principle of the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and, of course, for advocating negotiation and peace against the state's war policies. With this illegitimate judgement, our rights to vote and be elected have been usurped by a court.

The Kobanê Conspiracy Trial process and the sentences handed down are also an indication that the Turkish establishment continues to challenge the will for change expressed by the society in the 31 March elections and the democratic orientation that has become evident around the Kurdish demands, and that the expectations for a spontaneous change in the autocratic character of the regime lack a realistic basis. We would like to take this opportunity to point out that the sentences handed down by the one-man judiciary in Turkey, despite the ECtHR judgments, which are openly violated, are also the result of the inability of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to ensure that Ankara enforces the ECtHR judgements.

However, as seen during and after the Kobanê resistance against ISIS, the regime's insistence on a deadlock can only delay the realisation of the peoples' historical demands for a while. The fact that the verdict of the Kobanê Trial, just like the Gezi Trial, has not been reciprocated in the conscience of Turkish and international public opinion is the most important indication that the politics backing this legally collapsed political trial is doomed to collapse with its judiciary and executive.

We, the undersigned elected HDP members in exile, in the face of the verdicts in the Kobanê Conspiracy Trial, wholeheartedly agree with the HDP's call for 'struggle against the ISIS genocide in Kobanê' and see solidarity with Kobanê as a political and moral duty. We announce that the duty given to us by our peoples for freedom and justice is not a one-off. Ee are determined to continue the struggle at all levels and on all grounds until freedom and justice are achieved for all, our comrades regain their freedom, and our peoples regain their right to democracy and self-determination.

There is no doubt that the Kobane Conspiracy Trial verdict is a political decision aimed at the denial of the law, the elimination of Kurds from democratic politics and a deadlock in the Kurdish question. In this respect, the verdict not only punishes those who are fighting against ISIS. At the same time, it also expresses that Turkey's political line of supporting ISIS and its derivative Salafist gangs and organisations is still being maintained. Therefore, the verdict in the Kobanê Conspiracy Trial is also a threat to all societies that ISIS has declared 'abode of war'. In this context, we call on the UN, the Council of Europe, the European Union and its member governments to take a role in the resumption of a credible democratic and political peace process with the aim of resolving the Kurdish question and bringing it to a lasting solution, as emphasised in the European Commission's 2023 Report on Turkey, and to implement the sanctions on their agenda against this decision, which was issued directly by the Erdoğan government."

The names of the signatories are as follows:

Ali Atalan, 25th Term HDP MP for Batman and 26th Term MP for Mardin

Ayşe Acar Basaran, 25th, 26th and 27th Term MP for Batman

Bedia Özgökçe Ertan, 26th and 27th Term MP for Van

Besime Konca, 26th term MP for Siirt

Demir Çelik, 24th Term MP for Muş

Dilan Dirayet Taşdemir, 25th, 26th and 27th Term MP for Ağrı

Dilek Öcalan, 25th and 26th Term MP for Urfa

Ertuğrul Kürkçü, 24th term MP for Mersin and 25th and 26th term MP for İzmir

Fatma Kurtulan, 23rd term MP for Van

Feleknas Uca, 25th, 26th term MP for Diyarbakır and 27th term MP for Batman

Ferhat Encü, 25th and 26th term MP for Şırnak

Faysal Sarıyıldız, 24th, 25th and 26th Term MP for Şırnak

Hasip Kaplan, 23rd and 24th Term MP for Şırnak

Hatip Dicle, 19th Term MP for Diyarbakir

Hişyar Özsoy, 25th and 26th term MP for Bingöl and 27th term MP for Diyarbakır

Leyla Birlik, 25th and 26th term MP for Şırnak

Lezgin Botan, 25th and 26th term MP for Van

Kemal Aktas, 24th term MP for Van

Mehmet Emin Adiyaman, 25th and 26th Term MP for Iğdır

Musa Farisoğullari, 27th term MP for Diyarbakır

Nihat Akdogan, 25th and 26th Term MP for Hakkari

Nuran Imir, 27th term MP for Şırnak

Nursel Aydogan, 24th, 25th and 26th term MP for Diyarbakır

Osman Baydemir, 25th and 26th Term MP for Urfa

Pero Dündar, 27th term MP for Mardin

Remziye Tosun, 27th term MP for Diyarbakır

Saadet Becerekli, 25th and 26th Term MP for Batman

Selim Sadak, 19th term MP for Şırnak

Selma Irmak, 24th term MP for Şırnak and 25th and 26th term MP for Hakkari

Serpil Kemalbay, 27th term MP for İzmir

Sibel Yiğitalp, 25th and 26th term MP for Diyarbakır

Tuğba Hezer Öztürk, 25th and 26th term MP for Van

Yurdusev Özsökmenler, 25th Term MP for Van

Ziya Pir, 25th and 26th term MP for Diyarbakır

Hüsamettin Zenderlioğlu, 24th term MP for Bitlis

Osman Özcelik, 23rd term MP for Siirt

Filiz Koçali, HDP deputy co-chair

Metin Tekçe, Co-Mayor of Hakkari

Hüseyin Yilmaz, Co-Mayor of Ağrı

Fırat Anlı, Co-Mayor of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality

Hatice Çoban, Co-Mayor of Van Metropolitan Municipality

Cemile Eminoglu, Co-Mayor of Bismil Municipality

Zülküf Karatekin, Co-Mayor of Kayapınar

Nejdet Atalay, Co-Mayor of Batman

Fatma Şık, Co-Mayor of Sur

Nadir Bingöl, Co-Mayor of Ergani

Şükran Sincar, Co-Mayor of Uludere

Cemal Özdemir, Co-Mayor of Sur

Yüksel Baran, Co-Mayor of Bağlar

Leyla İmret, Co-Mayor of Cizre

Veysel Keser, Co-Mayor of İpekyolu

Rukiye Baran, Co-Mayor of Çınar

Ayten Sezgin, Co-Mayor of Veyselkarani

Nezahat Ergüneş, Co-Mayor of Bostaniçi

Abdullah Demirbaş, Co-Mayor of Sur

Hasan Basri Firat, Co-Mayor of Hınıs

Hüseyin Güneş, Co-Mayor of Varto

Burhan Kocaman, Co-Mayor of Karakoçan

Nuran Atli, Co-Mayor of Mazıdağ

Abdurrahman Zorlu, Co-Mayor of Hani

Yüksel Bodakçı, Co-Mayor of Silvan

Gülay Peker, Co-Mayor of Hınıs

Zilan Aldatmaz, Co-Mayor of Saray

Şuna Atabay, Co-Mayor of Çaldıran

Emrullah Cin, Co-Mayor of Viranşehir

Semira Varli, Member of Van Provincial General Assembly