European parliamentarians urge Turkey to end repression against opposition parties

In a joint letter addressed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 46 members of the European Parliament representing different parties and parliamentary groups urged the Turkish government to end repression against opposition parties and to accept the results of the March 31 local polls.

The European parliamentarians criticised in their letter the Turkish government’s decision last month to replace elected People’s Democratic Party (HDP) mayors in three key southeastern provinces with government-appointed trustees over terror links and an almost 10 year sentence handed last week by a Turkish court to Canan Kaftancıoğlu, the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul organisation, over five different crimes related to her social media posts from six years ago.

The MEPs said in their letter that the government had not presented any evidence to prove that HDP mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin, and Van had spread terrorist propaganda and financed terrorism. 

“It seems that the accusations have been made, because the Turkish central government does not want to accept the results of the local elections, in which the HDP was successful in the above-mentioned cities,” the letter shared by independent news site Bianet said. 

The letter recalled that the government removed elected HDP mayors in the past after a coup attempt in 2016. It said that the arrests of Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, the former co-chairs of the HDP, and the persecution of other opposition members was a threat to democracy and that the sentencing of Kaftancıoğlu was unacceptable.

“We urge you, the Turkish government, to end the repression against members of the HDP and the CHP, to accept the results of the local elections and to refrain from another round of repression against the opposition in Turkey,” the 46 MEPs said. 

The European Parliament is expected to approve a recommendation on the current situation in Turkey next week, opposition daily Evrensel reported on Friday.