Protest against 15 February conspiracy in Istanbul under police blockade

In Istanbul, a rally of the HDP on the anniversary of Abdullah Öcalan's deportation to Turkey was banned. MPs were surrounded and those present protested with the slogans "Bijî Serok Apo" and "A thousand greetings to Imrali".

In Istanbul, despite an official ban, people protested against the international conspiracy that led to the abduction of Abdullah Öcalan to Turkey on 15 February 1999. A rally of the Istanbul HDP association in the Şirinevler district was prevented by the police. Speeches were planned by association leaders Ilknur Birol and Ferhat Encü, as well as HDP MPs Musa Piroğlu, Mehmet Rüştü Tiyarki and Berdan Öztürk, who is also co-chair of the civil society organisation DTK.

The reason given for the police blockade was a ban by the district governor accusing the organisers of supporting "an organisation" - meaning the PKK. HDP deputy Tiryaki protested against this justification and said that only HDP members were present.

The MPs were surrounded by police and journalists were forcibly pushed back. Despite the police intervention, the crowd that had turned up for the rally walked unitedly to the district branch of the HDP in Şirinevler, chanting slogans such as "Bijî Serok Apo" (Long Live Leader Öcalan), "A thousand greetings to Imrali" and "Long live prison resistance".

Ilknur Birol made a statement and said that the HDP wanted to express its opinion publicly on the occasion of today and was prevented from doing so by the police. "We do not accept this mindset that tries to dictate us what to say on which issue with bans. We find this illegal, it is a violation of freedom of expression, which is the right of all citizens and political institutions," Birol said, calling the ban a "fascist measure".