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TURKEY’S opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) vowed to step up the fight for democracy and “end the isolation system” in the country today amid threats to close the party down.
Its declaration was issued following a series of meetings held in at least 71 different locations under the banner: “HDP supporters are everywhere.”
Delegates gathered for a weekend of debate and discussion focused on the issue of the case to shut the party and a series of anti-Kurdish pogroms which have seen a spate of attacks and murders by pro-government forces.
In a message of optimism, the HDP said that the meetings indicated “a great change in terms of Turkey’s democratic future.”
But it vowed to fight against the isolation of jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Other than a brief call with his brother in March, which was interrupted by the authorities after a matter of minutes, he has been shut off from communications from the outside world for years.
Human rights organisations have branded his treatment a form of torture and a violation of international law.
His lawyers today urged the European Court of Human Rights to take action, saying that it has not made a ruling on Mr Ocalan’s case in the 10 years since his appeal was submitted.
They argued that prolonging judgement allowed Turkey to continue to act with impunity and impose its system of oppression on the entire country.
The HDP said that ending the isolation of Mr Ocalan was a necessity in solving Turkey’s so-called Kurdish question which it said would “pave the way for the democratisation of Turkey and for social peace.”
HDP has come under intense pressure since its foundation in 2014, with more than 20,000 of its members detained and about 10,000 jailed in the past five years.
More than 200 elected officials remain in prison including former party co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag. Last December former MP Leyla Guven was jailed for more than 23 years.
A court case against the party has demanded its closure, holding the HDP responsible for the deaths of 39 of its supporters shot dead by security officials and government-affiliated paramilitary forces in 2014.
They were killed as they protested over government inaction during the siege of the Syrian city of Kobane by Isis.
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