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Jailed Turkish opposition leader remains defiant ahead of trial

Former co-chair of Turkey's HDP Figen Yuksekdag is expected to appear in court tomorrow on trumped-up terrorism charges

JAILED former Turkish opposition leader Figen Yuksekdag struck a defiant tone ahead of her trial on trumped-up terrorism charges in Ankara tomorrow saying “only those who fight can win.”

The former co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has been held as a political prisoner since her arrest in November 2016 as part of a series of night raids on opposition politicians.

She is expected to appear in court at the Sincan prison complex tomorrow where she faces charges of managing a terrorist organisation and spreading terrorist propaganda for her role as a founder-member of the HDP and speeches she made at the funeral of a Kurdish activist.

If found guilty the former Van MP faces aggravated life in prison, a charge sought by prosecutors on behalf of the Turkish state.

In a telephone message to the People’s Democratic Conference (HDK) general assembly which met in Ankara at the weekend she paid tribute to Leyla Guven who will enter her 69th day of hunger strike tomorrow and said those fighting for democracy would “definitely succeed.”

“We all strive to fulfil our tasks in the fight for democracy and peace. We’re doing it in jail, you’re doing it outside. I am firmly convinced that those who follow this path will succeed.

“We have never forgotten that we are your companions. In the spirit we are with you together in the centre of this struggle. Our hearts beat with you. The important thing is to preserve the totality. 

“We will definitely succeed. Only those who fight can win. The winners have always been those who believe in victory,” Ms Yuksekdag told those gathered.

She paid tribute to HDP MP for Hakkari Leyla Guven who started hunger strike in November in protest at the continued isolation of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Resistance is continuing despite the Turkish authorities granting Mr Ocalan’s brother a visit to the Imrali island prisoner on Saturday — their first meeting since 2016.

Ms Yuksekdag described the hunger strike as a fight to end isolation so peace and democracy can emerge.

“All who demand freedom in prisons have joined forces to open the door to freedom. They are moving on an even more challenging path which will end up in victory.”

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