Unite the union strongly condemns the destruction by Turkish Police special operations’ teams on 11 August of the Istanbul headquarters of Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest party in the Turkish parliament.
Unite also condemns the prosecution of the head of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas, and another pro-Kurdish lawmaker who are facing five-year jail sentences after being accused of spreading ‘terrorist group propaganda’. This case is one of many impending against the HDP since their parliamentary immunity from prosecution was lifted in May as part of Turkish president Erdoğan’s continued repression of any opposition to his government.
Unite is under no doubt whatsoever that president Erdoğan has used the failed coup last month as an opportunity to embark upon a path of authoritarian and undemocratic rule, with repression of democracy and dissident voices expanding across Turkey. There have been mass detentions and arrests of journalists, trade unionists, politicians and anybody associated with opposition to the current government.
Unite strongly believes the destruction of HDP’s Istanbul headquarters and the prosecution of the HDP leadership are clear examples of the repression and continuing brutal war against the Kurdish population of Turkey by Erdoğan and his government. It is also a strong warning that further violence against the Kurds and all other democratic forces in Turkey is imminent.
Unite once again calls on governments and international bodies to make it absolutely clear that unjustified mass detentions beyond the remit of the coup plotters is not acceptable, that the rule of law with a fully independent judiciary must be respected, that attacks on free and independent media must stop immediately, and that opposition parties, trade unions and civil society must be able to function without obstruction or repression.
Unite will continue to be vigilant in observing how events unfold and will stand in full solidarity with the HDP, trade unions, all progressive political parties, NGOs, and other elements of civil society, who seek to maintain a secular Turkey while building a real democratic system based on peace, equality and freedom for all citizens.