HDP co-chair Yüksekdağ loses seat in parliament
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Figen Yüksekdağ, who has been in jail for three months on terror charges, has lost her parliamentary status for a prison sentence she received in a previous case.
Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Ayşenur Bahçekapılı read out a Prime Ministry motion at the start of the parliamentary session on Feb. 21, regarding Yüksekdağ’s sentencing on “terror propaganda” on Nov. 27, 2013, which was approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals on Sept. 22, 2016.
According to the constitution, the loss of the parliamentary seat “through a final judicial sentence or deprivation of legal capacity, shall take effect after the final court decision in the matter has been communicated to the plenary” of the parliament, without the necessity for a vote.
Yüksekdağ, who was also the party’s lawmaker from the eastern province of Van, was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016, over her alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). She currently faces over 80 years in prison.
Ahmet Yıldırım, HDP’s deputy parliamentary group leader, said the decision was “void.”
“The prosecutors, judges of the said sentencing are currently in prison. The ruling of a power hiding behind terrorists cannot be the ruling of the judiciary,” Yıldırım said.
Trial begins for murder of soldier who resisted July 15 coup attempt
The trial for the killing of a Turkish anti-coup soldier, who has been idolized for his resistance during a raid on the Special Forces Command in Ankara before he was killed by coup plotting soldiers, has started.
Ankara 14th Heavy Penal Court on Feb. 21 started the trials of 18 suspects in the case regarding the murder of non-commissioned officer Ömer Halisdemir after he shot a pro-coup general, Semih Terzi, who arrived in the commandership to capture it as part of its coup activities on July 15, 2016, which is widely believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Acting on his commander’s orders, Halisdemir shot Terzi dead outside the special forces’ headquarters in Ankara. He was later killed by the plotters.
Hundreds of babies born after the coup have been named after Halisdemir as a tribute, while hundreds of thousands have visited his grave. Parks, schools and other public places have been named after him, while a cottage industry of souvenirs to preserve his memory was founded.
Dressed in suits, they were escorted into the courthouse by paramilitary forces in front of cameras surrounded by heavy security and a water cannon truck.
The courtroom was packed with security forces including police with shields behind the suspects as the judge confirmed the identities of those on trial.
Some 18 suspects, who are currently being accused of deliberately killing the soldier and attempting to remove the government, are facing multiple life sentences.
HDP co-chair Demirtaş given jail term, MP arrested
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who is currently under arrest, was sentenced on Feb. 21 to five months in prison on charges of “insulting the state and its institutions,” while the party’s Diyarbakır Deputy İdris Baluken was arrested for a second time in Ankara.
The Doğubayazıt 2nd criminal court of first instance on Feb. 21 sentenced Demirtaş to five years in prison on charges of “denigrating the Turkish nation, the Turkish Republic and the institutions of the state.”
Police also detained Baluken following an appeal against his release in a case filed as part of a terror investigation on Feb. 21. He was later arrested.
He had previously been released on Jan. 30 after being arrested on Nov. 4, 2016. An arrest warrant was later issued for him.
The prosecutor’s office previously appealed the court decision on Baluken’s release pending trial on Jan. 30 to a higher court.
After reviewing the appeal, the Diyarbakır 1st court of serious crimes on Feb. 17 issued an arrest warrant for Baluken.
Baluken faces an aggravated life sentence and up to 23 years in prison on four separate charges, namely “disrupting the unity of the state and the country,” “being a member of armed terror organization,” “engaging terror organization propaganda” and “refusing to disperse despite warning in illegal demonstration and marches.”