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Jailed opposition leader warns of creeping fascism as Turkey appeals European Court ruling

FORMER leader of the pro-Kurdish Turkish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas warned today that his continued detention is an indication of “how grave the recent situation in Turkey is.”

He made a statement on social media following the announcement by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that Ankara is set to appeal against the recent European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that Mr Demirtas should be released from pre-trial detention where he has been held since November 2016.

Mr Demirtas said the government has failed to learn lessons from the court judgement and chooses instead to insist that it is not binding “because it does not want to leave aside such a sharp sword as the judiciary.”

“But, do you think that the sharp sword in the hands of government wants to cut only me?” he asked. “Millions of you have been cut and be sure that none of you will remain uncut if you keep silent.”

Mr Cavusoglu insisted the judgement of the court “is a political one. Judiciary should not do something like that” and confirmed that Turkey would appeal to the Grand Chamber against the ruling.

He also insisted that the former HDP leader and presidential candidate was a terrorist sympathiser.

“Though Demirtas does not have a direct membership of the terrorist organisation PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), he still does not hide his support for it,” he said.

Mr Demirtas warned of the consequences of a lack of an independent judiciary in Turkey, saying: “If the judiciary cannot fulfil its duty, chaos emerges, chaos followed by serious government cruelties. Because the  judiciary controls the government in the name of all of us, it protects us."

“However, what if the judiciary cannot control the government? What if instead the government acquires the power to control the judiciary?

“There is no need to beat around the bush, its name would be fascism. The society’s trust in justice would collapse. Fear and panic would erupt. No-one would have security,” he said.

Mr Demirtas remained defiant and called on the people of Turkey to continue their resistance and the fight for democracy.

“Raise objection. Do not surrender. Do not be afraid, use all of your democratic rights to the full. When the ballot box comes before you, do not ever let fascism pass,” he said

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