Jailed former leader of the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas says his phone calls were illegally tapped while he was a lawmaker to obtain information that has seen him imprisoned on terror charges.
Demirtas was jailed in 2016 and his sentence of four years and eight months in prison on charges of “making propaganda for an armed terrorist organization” was approved by a Turkish court in December 2018.
Although the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled for his release in November 2018, the Turkish courts have not implemented that decision.
Demirtas posted on his Twitter account that the phone calls were made with alleged directors of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), which is an umbrella organization that includes the outlawed PKK, in 2008.
PKK is an armed militant group that took up arms for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast since 1984 and is regarded as a terrorist organization by Ankara.
The Turkish government accuses HDP of being linked to the armed group and even though the party denies the allegations, some senior members that include Demirtas have been in prison on terror-related charges.
“My conversations were illegally wiretapped despite the fact that I was a lawmaker at the time. Although they found no elements of crime in the conversations, the people I talked to were claimed to be directors of a terrorist organization,” he posted.
Demirtas also expressed that he was accused of attending events organized by the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), which is a platform of members from various Kurdish associations and movements.
He further explained that although no elements of the crime were found in the meetings and panels organized by the DTK, the group is regarded as a terror organization and he as one of its managers.
“DTK is a legal, open and legitimate platform that currently continues to organize events,” the jailed leader said, adding that he attended some of the DTK meetings mentioned in the indictment together with ruling AK Party MPs’ Galip Ensarioglu and Yasin Aktay.
“For almost three years, I and some of my deputy friends are being kept in cells by way of similar plots. We believe that someday we’ll certainly find justice. I say this because I trust and believe in our people, not the politicized judiciary [of Turkey,]” Demirtas noted.
He said that anything other than his explanations on the issue is lies and slander, the former HDP leader expressed his hope that the reasons behind labeling himself as a “political hostage” are better understood.
“The majority of the media outlets [in Turkey] do not cover my hearings for reasons known by all. But everybody has the right to know the truth about this,” he said via his Twitter account on Monday.
“I already know that you don’t believe in those who go from one TV channel to another and one square to another [for rallies] to declare me as a ‘terrorist, murderer.’ Even so, I want you to also hear about all of the ‘allegations’ from me,” the former co-chair added.
One of the accusations he mentioned was about a letter that the PKK allegedly ordered him to give to a family in Elazig province.
The ex-HDP leader said that a technical examination revealed years later that the letter was composed and seized by others unlawfully and those who are accused due to the letter were acquitted of the charges related to it.
“However, this letter is still in my case file and it is one of the reasons for my arrest,” Demirtas underlined.