Almost All Party Chairs Served Jail Term

The tradition of parties that started with the HEP that was started in 1990 continues with the HDP. Closure cases were brought against seven of the 10 parties and five of them were closed. Almost all of the party chairs served time in prison.

People's Labor Party (HEP) was found in June 7. And then 10 political parties follow its ideology; closure case was brought against seven of the 10 parties and five of them were closed. Almost all of the party chairs happened to serve in prison.

People’s Labor Party (HEP) / 1990-1993

After the September 12, 1980 coup, one of the Kurdish politicians’ addresses was the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP). The politicians that preceded the Kurdish question entered the parliament from SHP’s list in 1987. However, path of these figures separated from the SHP due to the Kurdish question. Malatya MP İbrahim Aksoy was discharged from the SHP for stating at the Turkey-Europe Joint Parliamentary Commission in February 1989 that there is a Kurdish question in Turkey. The France-Libertés Foundation and Kurdish Institute organized a joint Kurdish Conference on October 14-15, 1989 in Paris. MPs Ahmet Türk, Mahmut Alınak, Adnan Ekmen, Mehmet Ali Eren, Salih Sümer, İsmail Hakkı Önal and Kenan Sönmez attended the meeting along with Aksoy. The SHP management discharged the seven MPs who attended the conference on November 17, 1989 on the grounds that they committed a party crime and that they carried out activities to separate the country. 12 MPs who protested the discharges resigned from the SHP.

The HEP was founded on June 7, 1990. 11 of the 19 MPs who were discharged or resigned from the SHP took part in the establishment of the HEP. Fehmi Işıklar became the first chair of the HEP.

The HEP allied with the SHP in the snap elections held on October 20, 1991. The SHP entered the parliament with 88 MPs, 22 of whom were from the HEP. The SHP-HEP coalition had its first crisis in the parliamentary oath-taking ceremony on November 6, 1991. After the oath-taking, Leyla Zana said in Kurdish that she “read that text for the sake of Turkish-Kurdish fraternity”. The SHP and HEP crossed with each other for the second time due to the events that occurred during the Newroz celebrations in which 57 people lost their lives on March 21, 1992. 18 HEP MPs except Fehmi Işıklar, Adnan Ekmen and Salih Sümer resigned from the SHP and continued their activities under the roof of HEP in the parliament.

Fehmi Işıklar quit his post at the HEP when he was elected MP from the SHP. On December 15, 1991, Feridun Yazar replaced his position at the HEP and became the party’s new chair. On September 19, 1992, Ahmet Türk became the chair.

The Constitutional Court (AYM) closed the HEP on July 14, 1993 on the charge of “bearing the intention of disrupting state’s indivisible integrity” and “being the focal point of illegal political activities”.

Fehmi Işıklar

Işıklar was born in Urfa in 1941. He worked as a technician at various factories. While he was the Confederation of the Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) Secretary General, the September 12 coup occurred and he was kept in custody for more than three months. Several lawsuits were filed against him. He was elected Bursa MP from the SHP.

He was elected HEP chair in 1990. He resigned from his post in 1991 and entered the parliament as the SHP Diyarbakır MP. He didn't join the HEP MPs who resigned from the SHP in 1992 and he continued in politics in the SHP. However, when the AYM closed the HEP, he was relieved of his MP duties on August 17, 1993 for being the former chair of the party.

Feridun Yazar

Yazar was born in 1944 in Urfa. He worked as a lawyer. After the March 12, 1971 Memorandum, he was arrested on the allegation that he was a member of the Revolutionary Eastern Culture Associations (DDKO).

He was released through the amnesty declared in 1974. He continued in politics in the People's Republican Party (CHP) and was elected Urfa mayor in 1997. He was relieved of his duties after the September 12 coup and was arrested, and he served 2 years in prison. He then returned to politics with the SHP. He became the SHP Urfa provincial chair in 1988. Protesting the MP expulsions in 1989, he resigned from the SHP. He became HEP chair in 1991 and remained in the post for almost a year.

He was sent to prison through Anti-Terror Law Article No. 8, which regulates the crime of "propagandizing against the state's indivisibility" in 1998. On November 1, 2015, he became an Urfa MP candidate from the HDP but he wasn't elected. He lost his life on June 12, 2016.

Ahmet Türk

Türk was born in 1942 in Mardin. He started politics in the 1970s. He was elected Mardin MP from the Democratic Party (DP). A year later, he moved to the CHP.

He was elected Mardin MP in the general elections in 1977. He was arrested when he was an MP during the September 12 coup. He served 3 years in Diyarbakır prison. He was elected Mardin MP, this time from the SHP, in 1987.

He was among the MPs who were discharged from the SHP in 1989. He was elected Mardin MP in the HEP-SHP coalition in the general elections held in 1991. He left the SHP with the other HEP MPs and was elected HEP Chair in the same year. He moved to the Democracy Party (DEP) when the HEP was closed. He was among the MPs who were relieved of their MP duties in 1994. He was arrested again and was tried through the former Turkish Penal Code Article No.168, which regulates illegal organization membership, and remained in prison for two years.

He served as Democratic Society Party (DTP) co-chair between 2005-2009. He was elected Mardin MP twice, on July 22, 2007, and June 12, 2011. A political ban was imposed on him for five years when the DTP was closed on December 11, 2009 and he was relieved of his MP duties.

He became a candidate for the Peace and Democracy Party's (DBP) Mardin Mayor on March 30, 2014 general elections and he won. He was suspended from his duty by the Ministry of Interior on November 17, 2016, arrested on November 24, 2016 and released on February 3, 2017. He faces 18 years in prison on charges of "opposing the Law on Rallies and Demonstrations", "propagandizing for an illegal organization", and "being a member of an illegal organization".

He was sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison in the KCK Main Case through the verdict rendered on March 28, 2017 in Diyarbakır.

Freedom and Equality Party (ÖZEP) / 1992

In case the HEP were to be closed, the Freedom and Equality Party (ÖZEP) was founded on June 25, 1992. Mahmut Alınak was selected chair, however, after its establishment, a closure case was opened against the ÖZEP on the grounds that the party “bears the intention of disrupting the state’s indivisible integrity”.

Upon that reasoning, the HEP was dissolved 13 days after its foundation.

Mahmut Alınak

Alınak was born in 1952 in Kars. He was known for being a politician, lawyer and writer. He was elected Kars MP from the SHP. He was among those discharged from the SHP in 1989. In 1991, he was elected Şırnak MP in the HEP-SHP coalition.

He was among those who were relieved of MP duties in 1994. He was tried through the former TCK Article 168 and he served time in prison. He was arrested in a KCK operation on December 8, 2011, and released on July 18, 2012. He is being tried through TCK 314/2.

Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖZDEP) / 1992-1993

The Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖZDEP) was the second party that to be founded in case the HEP were closed. Its chair was Mevlüt İlik but a closure case was filed against the party on the grounds that it was a substitute of the HEP and took part in separatist activities.

ÖZDEP dissolved itself on April 30, 1993. However, the AYM ordered closure of the party on November 21, 1993 even though the party didn’t exist anymore.

Democracy Party (DEP) / 1993-1994

The DEP was founded on May 7, 1993 after the HEP was closed. DEP’s first chair was Yaşar Kaya. Kaya left his post to Hatip Dicle on December 12, 1993. On September 4, 1993, DEP Mardin MP Mehmet Sincar was murdered. DEP Headquarters and eight buildings of the party were bombed on February 18, 1994.

On March 2, 1994, 13 DEP MPs were relieved of their MP duties. The DEP MPs were arrested. The AYM closed the DEP through Constitution’s Articles No. 68 and 69 on June 16, 1994.

Yaşar Kaya

Kaya was born in Kars in 1938. He was a politician, writer and economist. He was arrested in "the Case of 49s" in 1959 and in "the Case of 23s" in 1963. He became the DEP leader since he was the owner of the Özgür Gündem newspaper.

He was arrested through former TCK Article No. 168 on September 16, 1993. A large number of suits were brought against him due to the Özgür Gündem. He was able to return to Turkey in 2014 after having left in 1994. He lost his life on March 9, 2016.

Hatip Dicle

Dicle was born in Diyarbakır in 1954. He is a civil engineer. He was elected MP in the HEP-SHP coalition in 1991. He moved to the HEP in 1992 and to the DEP in 1993 with his fellow memberss. He was relieved of his MP duties along with his 12 MP fellows on March 2, 1994 when he was the DEP Chair and he was arrested. He was convicted through the former TCK's Article No. 168 in the case in which Leyla Zana, Orhan Doğan and Selim Saddak were tried as well.

When his punishment was revoked by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), he was re-tried and he was released from prison with his three fellows after 10 years. He continued to do politics through the parties that come from the same tradition. He was elected Diyarbakır MP in 2011 but he was relieved of her MP duties due to his prison sentence.

He was arrested on December 24, 2009 within the scope of the KCK Main Case, released on June 29, 2014, and sentenced to 9 years in prison on March 28, 2017 through TCK Article 314/2.

People's Democracy Party (HADEP) / 1994-2003

The People’s Democracy Party (HADEP) was founded on May 11, 1994. Its first chair was Murat Bozlak. He returned to his post, which he left to Ahmet Turan Demir on September 8, 1999, on November 26, 2000.

Among the parties that come from the same tradition, the HADEP lived longest in the political arena and was the first party that entered the elections. The HADEP received 4.16% of the votes in the December 24, 1995 general elections but couldn’t make it to the parliament due to the 10% electoral threshold. Increasing its votes in the April 18, 1999 general and local elections, the HADEP won 37 municipalities including Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality with its vote percentage of 4.75%.

HADEP experienced things similar to what HEP and DEP experienced. When the Turkish flag was taken down during the 2nd HADEP Congress held on June 24, 1996, Chair Bozlak and 50 party assembly members were detained, and many people including Bozlak were arrested.

HADEP’s headquarters and party buildings were frequently raided by the police, especially in 1998. Thousands of people were detained in raids. A closure lawsuit was filed against the HADEP on January 29, 1999. The AYM ordered closure of the party on March 13, 2003, once again through Constitution Articles No. 68 and 69.

Murat Bozlak

Born in Ankara in 1952, Murat Bozlak was a politician and an attorney. He took part in the SHP, HEP and DEP and served as HADEP chair for five years. He was assaulted with a gun and was heavily wounded on February 4, 1994 when he was the DEP Secretary General.

Being detained after the congress in which the Turkish flag was taken down, he was arrested along with many party members through former TCK Articles No. 168, 169 and 8. Bozlak was arrested on similar charges on February 16, 1998, November 19, 1998, and February 24, 2000. When the HADEP was closed in 2003, a 5-year political ban was imposed on Bozlak who served in prison for almost 3 years in total.

He was elected as an independent Adana MP backed by the BDP. He lost his life on January 4, 2015.

Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) / 1997-2007

The Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) was founded as a back-up party on October 24, 1997 in case the HADEP were to be closed. DEHAP’s first chair was Veysi Aydın. Mehmet Abbasoğlu replaced him when his party membership was revoked by the Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor’s Office on May 9, 1998. Tuncer Bakırhan was elected chair on June 8, 2003.

The DEHAP began its active political life starting in 2002. The DEHAP entered the general elections held on November 3, 2002 under the name of “Labor Peace and Democracy Bloc”, and received 6.22% of the vote, but couldn’t enter the parliament due to the electoral threshold. After the closure of the HADEP, 35 mayors moved to the DEHAP on March 26, 2003. The DEHAP increased its number of mayors to 54 in the March 28, 2004 local elections. The DEHAP dissolved itself on November 19, 2005.

On March 13, 2003, charging the DEHAP with “entering the elections without completing its organization”, the Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor’s Office applied to the AYM through the Law on Political Parties No. 2,820. With a supplementary indictment, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office demanded that the DEHAP be closed permanently through Constitution Articles No. 68 and 69.

The case lasted until 2007 even though the DEHAP had dissolved itself.

Mehmet Abbasoğlu

Born in Diyarbakır in 1955, Abbasoğlu was a retired noncommissioned officer. During his term as DEHAP Chair, he was charged with forgery of official documents and sentenced to 1 year and 11 months in prison.

He served time in prison between October 30, 2003 – August 11, 2004. Later, he continued to participate in politics through the DTP. He was detained in a KCK operation on April 14, 2009, arrested and released on April 12, 2014.

He lost his life on June 5, 2015 during the duration of his trial through TCK Article 314/2.

Tuncer Bakırhan

Bakırhan was born in Kars in 1970. He started to work at the parties coming from the HEP tradition since his youth. He became a candidate for the DEHAP for mayor and MP but he wasn't elected.

He was arrested in a KCK operation on January 17, 2012. He was tried through TCK Article 314/2 and released on April 30, 2013. He was elected Siirt mayor from the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) in the March 30, 2014 local elections.

On November 16, 2016, he was arrested through TCK 314/2 and suspended from duty by the Ministry of Interior a day after the arrest.

Free Party / 2003-2007

The Free Party was founded on June 6, 2003 under the presidency of Ahmet Turan Demir in case the DEHAP were to be closed.

The Free Party, which didn't carry out any political activities, was dissolved on June 26, 2007.

Democratic Society Party (DTP) / 2005 - 2009

The Democratic Society Party (DTP) was founded on the promise of a more inclusive politics on November 9, 2005 in case the DEHAP were to be closed, with Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk as co-chairs. Nurettin Demirtaş became chair on November 8, 2007, followed by Emine Ayna. Ahmet Türk was elected chair again on October 4, 2009.

The DTP entered the parliament with 21 independent MP candidates in the July 22, 2007 general elections due to the electoral threshold of 10%. So, the same tradition subsequent to the DEP was represented in the parliament after 13 years. The DTP won 99 municipalities in the March 29, 2009 general elections.

The Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor’s Office filed a closure case against the DTP on November 16, 2007. The AYM closed the party through Constitution Articles No. 68 and 69 and the Law on Political Parties Article No. 2,820 on December 11, 2009. Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk were relieved of their MP duties and many members political bans.

Ahmet Türk

Please see the HEP section

Aysel Tuğluk

Born in Elazığ in 1965, Aysel Tuğluk worked as a lawyer. She served as co-chair at the DTP with Ahmet Türk. She was elected MP from Diyarbkır on July 22, 2007 and from Van on June 12, 2011. She was arrested through TCK Article 314/1 on December 28, 2016 when she was HDP Deputy Co-Chair.

Nurettin Demirtaş

Demirtaş was born in Elazığ in 1972. He was tried through TCK Article 168 during his university years and he served 11 years and 6 months in prison. He entered politics with the DTP after his prison time. 

He became DTP chair but he was prosecuted for forging document in order to avoid military service. He was relieved of his duty and he served one year in prison. He left Turkey after doing the military service.

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) / 2008 - 2014

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) was founded under the presidency of Mustafa Ayzit on May 2, 2008. Demir Çelik replaced Ayzit on September 7, 2008. Selahattin Demirtaş and Gülten Kışanak took over Çelik’s position on February 1, 2010.

The DTP MPs and mayors moved to the BDP when their party was closed. The BDP entered the June 12, 2011 general elections with independent candidates as the DTP did, and entered the parliament with 36 MPs. 

When Hatip Dicle was relieved of his MP duties by the YSK, the BDP was represented in the parliament with 35 MPs. In the March 30, 2014 local elections, it won 102 municipalities, three of which were metropolitan cities. The BDP dissolved itself on April 28, 2014 through the foundation of the HDP with the pledge of being a more inclusivist party, and the BDP MPs joined the HDP.

Selahattin Demirtaş

Demirtaş was born in Elazığ in 1973. He practiced law. He was elected MP from Diyarbakır on July 22, 2007, from Hakkari on June 12, 2011, and from İstanbul on June 7 and November 1, 2015. 

He ran for president in the August 10, 2014 elections and received 9.76% of the vote. The HDP, of which Demirtaş is the co-chair, overcame the 10% electoral threshold in the June 7 and November 1, 2015 general elections. When parliamentary immunity was lifted on May 20, 2016, he started to face prosecutions due to a large number of charges pressed against him. 

He was arrested along with nine other HDP MPs on November 5, 2016. He faced charges of “Opposing the Law on Rallies and Demonstrations”, “Opposing the Electoral Law”, “Inciting people to hate and hostility (TCK 216)”, “Inciting people to not obey the law (TCK 217)”, “Inciting people to commit crime (TCK 214)”, “Promoting crime and criminal (TCK 215)”, “Insulting the president (TCK 299)”, “Insulting government and state of the Republic of Turkey, Turkish nation, state institutions and bodies (TCK 301/1)”, “Propagandizing for an illegal organization (TMK 7)”, “Managing an armed organization (TCK 314/1)”, “Being a member of an armed organization (TCK 314/2)”. He was sentenced to 5 months in prison on February 21, 2017 through TCK 301/1.

Gültan Kışanak

Kışanak was born in Elazığ in 1961. She practiced journalism. She was elected MP from Diyarbakır on July 22, 2007 and from Siirt on June 12, 2011. She served as BDP Co-Chair with Selahattin Demirtaş. 

She was elected Diyarbakır Co-Mayor with Fırat Anlı in the March 30, 2014 local elections. During the time of the September 12, 1980 coup, she was arrested and she served three years in prison. She was arrested on October 31, 2016 as she was serving as the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Mayor and was suspended from her duty.

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP)

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was founded under the co-chairship of Yavuz Önen and Fatma Gök on October 15, 2012. On October 27, 2013, Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Sebahat Tuncel were elected as co-chairs. On June 22, 2014, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ were brought to the positions of co-chairship.

The HDP entered the June 7, 2015 general elections as a party. Entering the parliament with 80 MPs through a vote rate of 13.12%, the HDP won 59 MPs through a vote rate of 10.75% in the November 1, 2015 snap elections.

53 of the 148 MPs whose parliamentary immunities were lifted on May 20, 2016 were from the HDP. 14 HDP MPs have been arrested since November 5, 2016, and 13 of them are still in prison.

Ertuğrul Kürkçü

Kürkçü was born in Bursa in 1948. He is known for being an activist, a journalist, a publisher, and a politician. He was a prominent figure of the 68 generation. He served as Revolutionary Youth Federation of Turkey (DEV-GENÇ) chair. He is one of the founders of IPS Communication Foundation and bianet.

He was the only survivor in the Kızıldere event (March 30, 1972) in which Mahir Çayan and his friends were murdered. He served 14 years in prison. He has been continuing his political activism through the BDP and HDP since 2011. He was elected MP from Mersin on June 12, 2011 and from İzmir on November 1, 2015.

Sebahat Tuncel

Born in Malatya in 1975, Tuncel started her political career in the DTP. She was arrested in 2006 through TCK Article 314/2. She was released from prison after 8 months of imprisonment when she was elected MP from İstanbul on July 22, 2007.

 However, the lawsuit brought against her concluded on September 18, 2012 and she was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison. Her file was sent to the Supreme Court of Appeals. She was elected MP from İstanbul again on June 12, 2011. 

She served as co-chair with Ertuğrul Kürkçü at the HDP and with Kamural Yüksek at the DBP. Tuncel was arrested on November 6, 2016 on charges of “Opposing the Law on Rallies and Demonstrations” and “Being a member of an armed organization”.

Figen Yüksekdağ

Born in Adana in 1971, Yüksekdağ is a politician and a journalist. She served as co-chair at the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP). 

She became HDP co-chair on June 22, 2014. She was elected as MP from Van in the June 7 and November 1, 2015 general elections. Her parliamentary immunity was lifted on May 20, 2016 and she was arrested on November 5, 2016. Lawsuits have been brought against her through TCK Articles No. 214., 215., 216., 217., 314/1., 314/2 and TMK Article No. 7.

She was sentenced to prison within the scope of TMK No. 7 on November 27, 2013, and her sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals. Following these sentences, she was relieved of her MP duties on February 21, 2017 and of her party duties on March 9, 2017.

Selahattin Demirtaş

Please see the BDP section…

Democratic Regions Party (DBP) / 2014-

The Democratic Regions Party (DBP) was founded in the place of the BDP, which dissolved itself on July 11, 2014. DBP participates in regional politics through local administrations. Hence, the BDP MPs moved to the HDP and BDP mayors moved to the DBP. DBP’s first co-chairs were Kamuran Yükek and Emine Ayna. When Ayna retired from politics on January 31, 2016, Sebahat Tuncel took over Ayna’s position.

Kamuran Yüksek

Yüksek was born in Erzurum in 1980. Yüksek entered politics in his youth. He was arrested as part of the KCK Main Case on April 14, 2009 as he was the deputy co-chair of the DTP. He was released on April 12, 2014. He received a jail term of 21 years through TCK Article 314/1 on March 28, 2017.

He was arrested also on May 13, 2016 and released on October 7, 2016. A lawsuit was filed against him through TCK Article 314/2. The court ordered 8 years and 9 months in prison for him and a detention warrant was issued.

Sebahat Tuncel

Please see the HDP section…(NF-YY/NU/HK)


Diyarbakır - BIA News Desk

03 May 2017, Wednesday

Nuri Fırat
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