The Armenian Council of America (ACA) and the Armenian Council of Europe (ACE) stand in solidarity with the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey. We condemn and oppose the 82 arrest warrants issued by the Erdogan Regime for HDP representatives, community leaders, and activists. ACA and ACE urge members of the European Union and the U.S. Government to condemn and sanction Turkey for this latest outrage.

The regime’s excuse for the latest string of arrest warrants are based on events which transpired six years ago in 2014. Across dozens of towns, tens of thousands of Turkish citizens protested their government’s inaction and complicity during the ISIS massacre of the residents of Kobane. Those protests turned violent due to the regime’s brutal response that left 43 dead, and are now the twisted excuse for Erdogan to continue the systematic persecution of opposition leaders, parliamentarians, mayors, and activists.

The ultra-nationalist, ultra-Islamic and decisively anti-minority authoritarian regime of Erdoğan continues its onslaught on the HDP under the conditions of a global pandemic.  This is the latest manifestation of a long running campaign of an anti-democratic and increasingly racist activities of the regime. For instance, former HDP leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag have been in jail since 2016 on trumped up charges related to this protest.

The 82 individuals with bogus warrants include former deputy and Kars co-mayor Mr. Ayhan Bilgen, former deputies Ms. Ayla Akat Ata, Mr. Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Mr. Nazmi Gur, Ms. Emine Ayna, Ms. Beyza Ustun, Mr. Altan Tan, former party spokesperson Mr. Günay Kubilay, and HDP Central Executive Board member Mr. Alp Altınörs are among the detainees. These activists, some of whom are duly elected public servants, were members of HDP’s Central Executive Board.

Since local elections in 2019, Erdogan’s regime has targeted and removed dozens of duly elected mayors belonging to the HDP and appointed trusted lackeys in their place. Two HDP lawmakers have been expelled from parliament since the elections in 2018 after being convicted on erroneous charges.

In their efforts to further persecute the opposition, Ankara’s prosecutor has begun preparations to petition the Turkish parliament to lift the immunity of seven more HDP lawmakers including MP Garo Paylan. An ardent champion of civil rights and an outspoken critic of Erdogan, Paylan has been the focus of political persecution due to his Armenian heritage and as a founding member of the HDP.

The European Union and U.S. Government must condemn the Erdogan regime in its attempts to silence the voice of civil rights and democracy in Turkey.

Armenian Council of America, Washington, D.C., USA
Armenian Council of Europe, Paris, France

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