‘The government talks about the freedom of thought in this country but deputies who open their mouths on the country’s Kurdish issue face threats of imprisonment,’ the party’s co-chair says
“We cannot enjoy freedom of expression. These proceedings stem from our political evaluations, statements and speeches,” Gültan Kışanak, co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Friday.
“On the one hand, [government officials] talk about freedom of thought in this country but, on the other, deputies who open their mouths on the country’s vital issues have to face the threat of imprisonment just because of what they say,” Kışanak said.
The BDP’s views on the Kurdish issue regularly land the party in hot water among judicial authorities, who generally open cases against deputies for allegedly making propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, “praising crime or criminals,” campaigning in languages other than Turkish and violating election laws.
“Our views may not be shared by others. They can find our views shocking. Which is the description of freedom of thought. We should have the right to express this. Otherwise we cannot find the correct path. These summary proceedings prove that we have no freedom of thought in Turkey,” she said.
Prosecutors have demanded 145 years in jail for Kışanak, 75 years for co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and 340 years each for Emine Ayna and Özdal Üçer. The only deputy who is not facing any pending case is Istanbul deputy Ufuk Uras.