HDP MP Gergerlioğlu: I will not give in

HDP deputy Gergerlioğlu is the focus of state attacks and incitement following his critical statements on the failed Gare operation.

HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu sees the verdict against him upheld by the Court of Cassation as an obvious example against human rights activists in Turkey. "I am not the only one who says it is a purely political decision. It is not only politicians or lawyers who say that. All members of this society clearly see the illegality. I am wanted to be punished because I am a defender of human rights. My parliamentary mandate is at risk," the politician said at a press conference in parliament on Monday.

The MP has long been the focus of the Turkish government and media close to the AKP. The hostilities against the 55-year-old politician have increased massively in particular since he repeatedly brought naked searches at police stations and in custody to the agenda in the parliament as well as in the parliamentary human rights commission and most lately because of his critical expressions against the failed Gare invasion operation of the Turkish army.  On Friday, one of Turkey's highest courts, the Court of Cassation, upheld a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for Gergerlioğlu for terror propaganda.

A tireless fighter for human rights

"I will continue the struggle that I have waged for years. This fight is also a fight for human rights. I will certainly not give in, I want everyone to know that," Gergerlioğlu said. He said he was not a person who would submit to unlawful attacks, adding that if that were the case, he would not take to the streets. "I do not fear anyone except God. Without distinction, I have fought for human rights. I have raised the rights violations against everyone. My punishment is nothing new. Even in the Middle Ages, people were punished for telling the truth. There is torture in Turkey, strip-searches, babies in prisons, there is a Kurdish issue in Turkey. That's what I said. Is all this wrong? I fought against the oppressors and I am condemned for it. I got my mandate with my right, with my struggle, with the tears of the oppressed and their will."

"As a Turk, I must intervene in the violations against the Kurds"

Gergerlioğlu called the decision of the Court of Cassation scandalous and said it revealed a "very clear" illegality. "I have said that the Kurdish issue should be resolved. I have said that this issue should be dealt with through laws. The Kurds have been wronged for years, and I have said that this must be rectified. As a Turk, I must intervene in the violations against the Kurds. This is how the problems in Turkey can be resolved.”

His only concern, the MP said, is that human rights be demanded and implemented in Turkey. That is why he has been talking about the Kurdish issue for years, he added. "I did that even before the peace process. With the end of that phase, the part of society that worked for reconciliation between the Turkish state and the Kurdish liberation movement was demonized. I have conveyed messages of peace. I am an expert in conflict resolution. In Turkey, the Kurdish issue is still being talked about and deputies are meant to be removed from parliament. This has been done 20 years ago and now they are doing the same thing. Shame on them," Gergerlioğlu said.

Appeal to the ECtHR

In view of the confirmed prison sentence given to him, the politician announced that he would go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR): "I will fight to the end. Why do they want to rob me of my mandate? Because we are raising the demands of the people in this country. They have sentence me to prison, but they cannot take away my mandate. I assume that the European Court of Human Rights will find a violation here. I say we have to wait for the decision of the ECtHR.”