Pro-Kurdish HDP’s Gergerlioğlu reinstated as deputy in Turkish parliament

Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has regained his status as a member of Turkish parliament on Friday, following his release from prison last week.

A local court ruled in Gergerlioğlu’s favour on Wednesday, and his status was restored after the ruling was read out loud in a general assembly session in parliament, the HDP announced.

The newly reinstated deputy spent four months in prison over a terrorist propaganda conviction, based on a news article he had shared that the court said included a statement by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for Kurdish autonomy for almost 40 years.

After his conviction, Gergerlioğlu, who chaired a human rights organisation in Turkey for several years before his election in 2018, was stripped of his status as deputy and later arrested.

On July 1, Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) ruled that Gergerlioğlu’s right to participate in elections and engage in politics had been violated. With a delay in the local court recognising the AYM ruling, Gergerlioğlu was released from prison on July 6.

“Today is the day the will of the people prevailed over all the injustice, the day the people’s victory manifested,” Gergerlioğlu said in his first speech in parliament after his return.

“I wish (the parliament) had waited for the AYM ruling after (the conviction) was announced. I wish the parliamentary speaker had waited three more months so he would have seen this very clear ruling by the court and I wouldn’t have been sacked from my position unlawfully,” he added.