[JURIST] The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) [party website] of Turkey filed an application [statement] Monday asking the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] to address the continuous and allegedly unlawful imprisonment of the party’s co-chairs. Thirteen HDP politicians have been arrested [Al Jazeera report] since November, and 10 of them still await trial. The HDP declared that these allegedly systematic arrests “constitute a violation of the right to freedom and security, freedom of speech and the right to free elections as protected by both the Constitution and the [ECHR].” Moreover, the HDP insisted that the arrests have strategically prevented HDP politicians from voting in an upcoming referendum that would expand President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s [official profile] powers. While the HDP already stated these concerns in an application filed in the Turkish Constitutional Court [official website], the party has yet to receive a response.
Since the failed coup attempt in July, where Turkish military forces tried to overthrow the government, Erdoğan has taken steps to purge his government and consolidate power. Earlier this week 47 suspects accused [JURIST report] of attempting to assassinate Erdoğan went on trial. Also in February a report indicated that more than 90,000 Turkish public servants from the military, police, civil service and education systems have been dismissed from their jobs [JURIST report] for alleged connections to the coup attempt. In January the Turkish Parliament approved a plan [JURIST report], which, if approved by vote later this year, would increase presidential power and allow Erdoğan to stay in office until 2029. Turkey significantly restricted the activities of NGOs in November of last year and arrested opposition party leaders [JURIST report] alleging they had connections with terrorist organizations. In October Human Rights Watch warned [JURIST report] that the emergency measures put in place after the failed coup had resulted in serious human rights violations.