Kurdistan Region – Facing 18 years in jail, a HDP deputy described the case against him as “political.”
“The decision against me and my friends proves how Turkey is facing a political technical coup,” Lezgin Botan told Mezopotamya news agency.
Botan has been given a more than 18 years sentence on terror-related charges.
The pro-Kurdish HDP representative from Van accused the courts of being under the control of the ruling AKP – the political party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The party, which has lost nine parliamentarians due to terror convictions, has asked the parliament to investigate the trials of their deputies.
“The fact that the verdict is politicized is based on concrete facts,” HDP’s parliamentary head Filiz Kerestecioglu said in front of the legislature last week.
She said the judiciary, which was not exempt from the widespread crackdown after the failed July 2016 coup, has been politicized and their request for an investigation into the independence of the courts is justified under the constitution and parliamentary bylaws.
Bulgaria will host a Turkey-EU summit on Monday, attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, European Council President Donald Tusk, and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Ahead of the summit, 75 members of the European Parliament signed an open letter calling on the EU leadership to press Erdogan to release those elected politicians, journalists, and human rights defenders jailed in Turkey.
“We urge you to be unequivocal with President Erdogan: closer relations between the European Union and Turkey can only be conditioned on the lifting of the state of emergency, returning to rule of law, releasing detained journalists, human rights defenders and elected politicians, and ensuring accountability for torture and ill-treatment committed in police custody,” they stated.
Tusk has said they will raise a “number of complicated issues,” including the conflict in Afrin and recent issues in Cyprus.
It will “not be an easy meeting,” he anticipated.
Turkey is heading into the summit hoping for a “more constructive attitude” in order to rebuild trust, state-run media reported.
Ankara will specifically focus on issues of customs, visa liberalization, financial support for Syria, and counter-terrorism.
The Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria issued symbolic accreditation for 95 imprisoned Turkish journalists to cover the Turkey-EU summit. The Association invited journalists who will be attending the summit to take a symbolic badge bearing the name and photograph of a Turkish colleague.
“Our message to politicians is clear: Journalists are not terrorists and cannot be treated as such for their work. Even if you put critical journalists in jail, you will not stop hearing them - others will raise their voices. We will speak with their voice,” it stated.