The plight of the 10 HDP MPs goaled since early November 2016 by the Turkish government

As a matter of urgency we draw readers’ attention to the plight of the ten Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs gaoled since early November 2016 by the Turkish government. In particular, we call for action by the British government, parliamentarians and democratic bodies over the life-threatening conditions in which the HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas is being held.

All ten MPs are facing terrorism-related charges, although the predominantly Kurdish HDP has consistently called for a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey. The MPs are held in solitary confinement, their right to legal representation is being violated, and lawyers who represent them are harassed and criminalised. Delegations of parliamentarians from Europe and elsewhere, including a delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, who have sought to visit the gaoled MPs have been denied access by the Turkish Ministry of Justice. Anyone in Turkey who criticises President Erdogan is now liable to be arrested, imprisoned and denied previously established safeguards. This is done under the State of Emergency giving Erdogan unrestrained powers.

Selahattin Demirtas has condemned the recent Istanbul bombing and previous bomb attacks in Turkey and yet he is held in a prison bloc occupied by jihadists (ISIS and Al Qaeda) and mafia gangsters. Demirtas was diagnosed with the heart condition variant angina in 2013. During his incarceration Demirtas’ symptoms recurred on 7 December 2016. His doctor reported that Selahattin Demirtas has not received the medical attention required and he has not been given the necessary medication. The doctor concludes, ‘In consideration of the patient’s medical history, the risks such attacks present for his health are life threatening.’ It is essential that Turkey meets its international obligations and the human rights conventions to which it is a signatory and that it allows access to the MPs. Selahattin Demirtas must be given the medical treatment he requires. The HDP MPs must be released to pursue a peaceful settlement of the Kurdish question.

Yours sincerely

Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director

Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federations of Trade Unions

Mark Thomas, author and journalist

Dr Radha D’Souza, Westminster University

James Kelman, novelist

Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, lecturer of political sociology, Cambridge University

Trevor Rayne, Fellow of City University London

Dr. Jessica Northey, Co-International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales

Dr Derek Wall, Co-International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales

Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru

Ross Greer MSP

James Doran MSP

Rahila Gupta, writer

Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor, UNISON Scotland

Dr. Federico Venturini, independent researcher

Dr Johanna Riha, Epidemiologist

John Hunt, editor and journalist

Kat Wright, youth worker



Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question


Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890

Fax: 020 7263 0596


Patrons: Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Kate Osamor MP, Elfyn Llwyd, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, John Austin, Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary,  Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federations of Trade Unions, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, James Kelman, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall, Melanie Gingell, Steve Sweeney