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Campaigners call on British government to freeze Turkey ties over MPs' arrests

KURDISH campaigners called on the British government to freeze ties with Turkey over the arrest of three opposition MPs today after they were stripped of their parliamentary immunity. 

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs Leyla Guven and Musa Farisogullari were detained on Thursday night along with Republican People’s Party's (CHP) Enis Berberoglu after the Court of Appeal upheld charges against them. 

The two HDP politicians have been charged with alleged links to the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Mr Berberoglu for disclosing government secrets after he released footage allegedly showing Turkey’s state intelligence agency delivering weapons to Syria for use by insurgents there.

Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign (KSC) claims the charges are “trumped up” and signal Turkey’s “slide into dictatorship.”

The pro-Kurdish HDP party has been targeted aggressively over the past five years by Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan’s ruling AKP party. 

Since 2019, 45 of the 65 HDP mayors elected in local elections have been removed from office and 21 have been imprisoned over accusations of links to the PKK. 

In light of the recent arrests, KSC is calling for PM Boris Johnson to freeze relations with Turkey until all political prisoners are released. 

Labour must also raise this issue in Parliament and release a statement of solidarity with its “sister party” the HDP, the campaigners added. 

Stevenage Labour Councillor Sarah-Jane McDonough echoed these calls, stressing the party must “end its silence” on repression in Turkey. 

“We cannot be silent while the majority of HDP MPs and mayors are removed from office and jailed in an attempt to completely wipe out the democratically elected opposition,” she said. 

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