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Schulz on the detention of Selahattin Demirtaş, Figen Yüksekdag and HDP Members of Parliament in Turkey

Press Release
Foreign Affairs

“Today’s detentions send a chilling signal about the state of political pluralism in Turkey. Selahattin Demirtaş, Figen Yüksekdag and HDP Members of Parliament are legitimate and democratic representatives of Turkish society. The HDP is the third biggest group in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

I have met Selahattin Demirtaş many times. He is a leader committed to the peace process, to non-violence, to political dialogue and to the rule of law. In our last meeting at the end of September, he already feared he would be next in the line to be detained.

With this last high profile string of detentions - a continuation of the crackdown on other HDP elected representatives - Turkish authorities are not just pushing Turkey further away from democracy, but they are also turning their backs on the values, principles, norms and rules underpinning EU-Turkey relations.

I am in constant contact with VP/HR Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn and political group leaders in the Parliament concerning the latest developments in Turkey. These events must be addressed as a matter of urgency. Turkey is a candidate country to the European Union and a member of the Customs Union. The course of action by the Government calls into question the basis for the sustainable relationship between EU and Turkey and the commitment of the Turkish Government to democratic values and to its European aspirations.”

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