Police attack HDP politicians in Ankara again

In Ankara, HDP politicians have been attacked by the Turkish police again. Only yesterday, brutal arrests had taken place in front of the party headquarters.

The provincial association of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Ankara wanted to make a statement today in front of the party headquarters on the police attack that took place at the same place on Wednesday. HDP deputies Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu and Kemal Peköz, members of the party's executive board and representatives of civil society organisations from Ankara came to the party building to support the statement.

The building had already been sealed off by hundreds of police officers hours ago. Dozens of armored cars were placed in front of the entrance as a barrier to block the view for journalists and passers-by.

After discussions with the police, only the deputies and the co-chairs were allowed to make a statement. The reason for the limited participation was the distance rule in force as part of measures against the Coronavirus pandemic.

Pakize Sinemillioğlu, co-chair of the HDP provincial association, then said the following under police siege: "Even our democratic right to issue a statement is being taken away from us. The police arrested us here yesterday using force. A laceration on the head of our co-chair was stitched with five stitches. Today, we wanted to make a statement with the same demand, but the police, who arrived on our doorstep, do not allow it. An occupation is taking place in our party building."

HDP member of parliament Kemal Peköz called the previous day's incident a "demonstration of violence" and criticized the police operation: "After the brutal crackdown left the co-chair seriously injured, they tried to justify their violence saying they didn’t know that he was the chairperson. Whether he is the chairman or not does not change anything.”

While Peköz was talking, the engines of the police cars were started to drown out the MP's voice. The HDP members reacted angrily and demanded an end to the noise pollution. Peköz then continued: "Our cemeteries are being attacked, trustees are being appointed to our municipalities and the Turkish flag is being hung everywhere. Is Siirt the land of another country? Has it been liberated from an occupation? There are dirty accusations against our party, but no evidence can be presented for any of them. The media is creating the appropriate atmosphere. This dirt will stick to your hands, we have never bowed down before and we never will. You should know that."

When HDP member of parliament Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu began to speak afterwards, the engines of the police cars were started up again. Gergerlioğlu said: "Suppressing the voice of the people is primitive. Please turn off the engine." Then policemen came up to him to interrupt the speech. The head of operations, on a first name basis with the MPs, said: "Stop talking immediately."

After the intervention, policemen pushed back a filming correspondent of the Mesopotamia news agency (MA) and threatened arrest. HDP members and visitors in the party building protested against the police assault and shouted: "HDP is the people and the people are here!”

After the journalists were expelled from the scene, the police attacked the members of parliament and the association's chairpersons. Violence was used against HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu and the co-chair Vezir Coşkun Parlak, who had been injured the day before.

HDP municipalities seized by AKP that failed in local elections

Last Friday five more municipalities run by the HDP in the Kurdish region were seized through the dismissal of elected mayors and appointment of trustees in their place. The mayors, who, as in all the HDP's committees, were elected as a dual leadership with equal gender representation, were subsequently arrested. Besides the provinces of Siirt and Iğdır and the districts of Kurtalan and Baykan, the town of Altınova is also affected. The mayors of Iğdır and Altınova have been imprisoned.