The collapse of the rule of law affects all Turkish citizens, especially those of Kurdish origin. Repression intensified after a ceasefire with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) collapsed in mid-2015, and accelerated after the failed coup a year later and the subsequent two-year state of emergency. Anti-terrorism legislation, criminal defamation regulations, and the law against insulting Turkishness are used to silence political opposition.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime restricts the political participation of Kurds through harassment and the arbitrary detention of parliamentarians from pro-Kurdish parties.
In 2017, 13 deputies with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were held in prolonged pre-trial detention on terrorism charges. Party co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and former co-leader Figen Yüksekdağ, have been in detention since November 2016. Demirtaş was not permitted to appear in court, which is a denial of his due process rights.
Ten current and former HDP parliamentarians and 46 HDP co-mayors remain imprisoned on bogus terrorism charges and alleged threats to national security (as of December 2018). HDP members were targeted in a significant number of insult-related cases.
At least 6,000 HDP members and elected officials were jailed for a variety of charges related to terrorism and political speech (as of January 2019).