On November 4, Turkish authorities issued arrest warrants for all 59 MPs of the Kurdish-based left-wing opposition Peoples Democratic Party (HDP). The party’s leaders, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, and several other MPs were taken into detention. On September 6, spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen read a statement in Diyarbakır declaring that the HDP will cease all activity in parliament.
“Our parliamentary group and Central Executive Committee have decided after lengthy discussions to stop, during the most comprehensive and dark attack on democratic politics, our activities in parliament, and once again return amongst our people. In the following days we will travel from house to house, neighbourhood to neighbourhood, village to village, district to district and listen to the peoples' suggestions and criticisms,” the statement said.
The statement pledged that the HDP would grow the “democratic republic against the custodian republic,” referring to the state appointed custodians to Kurdish municipalities.
It continued: “The government may imprison our co-chairs, those demanding peace, those calling for freedom and justice; it may use violence to continue its hold on power. But this will not prevent us from our democratic political struggle. The Erdoğan-AKP government has turned this country to ash and for a Turkish-type presidential regime caused the death, injury, displacement, unemployment and polarisation of thousands of people. The Turkish-type presidential system they are proposing to the public is one-man fascist system. It will mean war, oppression, unrest and injustice…
“Do not bow down to Erdoğan’s threats. Step by step he is taking the country towards a totalitarian regime where universal human rights are denied. To remain silent to this threatens the people of the region and Europe.”
Meanwhile a number of the imprisoned MPs sent messages through their lawyers.
Figen Yüksekdağ: “Despite everything, they cannot end our hopes and break our resistance. HDP is the only hope for freedom and democracy in Turkey, whether we are inside or outside prison. This is why they are scared. Nobody should be demoralized or put down their guard. Nobody should forget that this hatred and hostility is out of fear. Love and courage will win. With love and greetings.”
Selahattin Demirtaş: “Firstly, greetings and love to all friends. In these days where our country is pushed further into darkness, our illegal arrest only served to intensify the darkness. However, those that think that they can make us surrender to this darkness should remember that one piece of match or one candle is enough to lighten up this darkness. Whatever our location or conditions may be, we will continue to burn like a candle so that our people can live in peace in free days to come. Everyone should be part of the struggle for democracy and work towards our bright future. My morale and health are good. With love.”
İdris Baluken: “Our people should keep their morale high, I salute our people that stand up for their honor. We are standing up for our honor too. Those that are supposed to be here are not us but those that have prepared this conspiracy. They are hiding where we are in order to marginalize us. This is the policy of kidnapping and taking hostages. Throughout history, this mentality has always been defeated. We will continue to preserve our stance and continue our struggle wherever we are. Greetings to our people.”
Ferhat Encü: “This is a struggle, and thousands have fallen for this struggle. We are no different from them. This is a violent wave of attacks, but can be repelled with resistance. We are resisting here, and we will continue. Nobody should be unhappy, the honorable resistance of those that keep their hopes alive will prevail. Hope is also uniting, the honorable resistance of our people against fascism will prevail. Nobody can call themselves free in a country where our Co-Presidents are taken hostage. I send my greetings and love to our people.”
Gülser Yıldırım: “No matter what the AKP dictatorship does, we will never give up from our struggle and the values were believe in. AKP’s inhumane policies show how right the struggle we have been waging against the AKP has been. I want our people to know that we are more determined. Greetings and love.”
Leyla Birlik: “This is a difficult process of coup. And we will prevail. Greetings.”
Nursel Aydoğan: “Our arrests are part of the elimination of the HDP. They should not forget that the HDP is a party with a cause. Even if we are in prison, we will follow our cause and struggle. Nobody’s morale should be affected by our arrests; nobody should ever lose hope. No matter what the AKP decides to do, we will keep our morale high. We will grow our hope.”
Selma Irmak: “AKP’s coup has become apparent. This coup targets the democracy front and is sneakier than the 1980 coup. It is based on the fear of widespread opposition. Resistance will continue as our people resist out there and we resist in here. Prisons are our second homes. My special greetings to woman comrades. Women will be the AKP’s nightmare. Our people should stand up for their future. We call upon the people of Turkey and Kurdistan to resist. Greetings and love.”