EFA condemns lack of evidence at trial against Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş and demands his immediate release

Renewed EU institutions must take action against Turkey over political persecution of Kurdish representatives

The European Free Alliance condemns the lack of evidence at trial against the Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been on unjustified pre-trial detention for more than two years now, and therefore demands his immediate release and the full acquittal on all charges, since they are based on fake accusations of terrorism propaganda.

In this sense, EFA recalls international pressure on the Turkish regime is crucial for the release of Demirtaş and the rest of Kurdish political leaders, as well as the resumption of talks to unblock the Kurdish issue.

An EFA delegation led by EFA President Lorena López de Lacalle and EFA Vice President Fernando Fuente has travelled to Ankara on 18 and 19 June to attend the trial against Demirtaş and hold a meeting with one of his lawyers, Mahsuni Karaman.

López de Lacalle said: “With the beginning of the new parliamentary term, EFA will strengthen its efforts for the defence of civil and political rights of the Kurdish population, and will demand the support of the rest of the political groups in the European Parliament to look into the violation of freedoms and fundamental rights by the Turkish regime to Kurdish citizens”.

The Vice President of EFA Fernando Fuente has also condemned the judicialization of political activity in Turkey and has denounced “the case indictment that has been prepared with political intentions by the far-right regime of Erdogan”. Therefore, EFA has always appealed for a political solution to the Kurdish conflict that could lead to the coexistence of all communities in a democratic Turkey.

Together with the renewed European Parliament, EFA will also seek support from the European Commission to show their clear commitment to compel Turkey to respect civic and political rights of Kurdish communities and put an end to the political persecution, which has significantly increased in the past years.

Turkish authorities have filed so far more than 30 cases against Demirtaş, who could face up to 142 years of imprisonment in case he is found guilty. The leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is unfairly charged with terrorism propaganda among other crimes, despite lack of evidence in the prosecutors’ documents.

During the mission, EFA Bureau members also had the opportunity to have a political meeting with members of the HDP board Nazmi Gür and Evren Çevic and meet other political leaders and public servants attending the trial, such as the EU Representative in Turkey, Swedish MEP Tony Haddou or the lawyer Pete Weatherby.