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WOMEN from across the world stood in international solidarity with Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) today as it said it would not yield to intensifying government attacks.
Thirty-two female politicians and activists from 23 countries gathered in Germany in defence of the party’s co-chair system — a policy branded an act of terrorism by the Turkish state.
They released a statement opposing the removal of elected HDP mayors from Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van provinces last month and their replacement with government-appointed trustees.
Those gathered for a press conference included women from Vietnam, Argentina, Ireland, Spain and Cuba.
“The attack on our sisters in HDP is an attack on the international women’s movement,” they said.
They also warned that the ruling Justice and Development Party was trying to “deliberately destroy” the co-chair system to restrict the rights of women.
Earlier this week police violently attacked a demonstration by the HDP Ankara women’s platform.
Its co-chair Zeyno Bayramoglu was detained along with executive member for Ankara Betul Koca just minutes after the peaceful protest began in the Turkish capital.
The statement also declared solidarity with removed HDP mayors Bedia Ozgokce Ertan, Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli and Ahmet Turk, as well as the 500 HDP members detained in police raids.
HDP members across Turkey also joined protests today against the appointment of trustees in Kulp and Karayazi municipalities, the latest areas to come under attack by the government.
The move by the Turkish state followed a humiliating defeat for authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the rerun Istanbul mayoral election in June.
His handpicked candidate, former prime minister Binali Yildirim, lost in Turkey’s most populous city by more than 800,000 votes to the Republican People’s Party candidate Ekrem Imamoglu.
The HDP was blamed for the result as it did not stand a candidate, instead encouraging supporters to vote for Mr Imamoglu “to inflict a blow against fascism.”
Mr Erdogan has used similar methods against the HDP in the past. More than 80 mayors have been replaced in largely Kurdish areas on trumped-up terrorism charges.
In November 2016 HDP MPs, including co-leaders Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, were arrested and face lengthy jail sentences.
Several court orders, both domestically and at the European Court of Human Rights, have ruled that Mr Demirtas should be released immediately.
But the rulings have been rejected and he remains in Edirne high-security prison, west of Istanbul.
His appeal was heard at the European Court of Human Rights again today but a verdict is likely to take some time and prove toothless.
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