Ross Greer MSP calls for release of Kurdish MPs as crackdown continues in Turkey


Scots solidarity campaigners plan further protests at the Turkish consulate in Edinburgh

SCOTTISH Green MSP Ross Greer has called upon the Turkish state to release a Kurdish MP arrested as part of a vicious crackdown on political dissent in Turkey.

Leyla Birlik, a People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP for Sirnak, was arrested along with around a dozen fellow MPs from the leftwing Kurdish party last week (Friday 4 November).

Greer, who is Scotland’s youngest MSP and a supporter of the right of the Kurdish people to autonomy in their home regions in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, sponsors Birlik in a scheme designed to protect Kurdish politicians who are in constant danger of attack from the Turkish state and political opponents.

“Turkey is the UK’s NATO ally and yet our government is standing by while democratically elected MPs are dragged from their homes in the middle of the night.” Ross Greer 

In a statement, Greer slammed the UK Government for “standing by” as its Nato ally ramped up a campaign of political repression which has continued apace since a botched military coup failed to topple the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July.

He said: “Turkey is the UK’s NATO ally and yet our government is standing by while democratically elected MPs are dragged from their homes in the middle of the night. Coming soon after the closure of many media outlets, arrests of journalists, removal of elected local mayors and the sacking of over 15,000 largely Kurdish teachers and education workers, the HDP believe this could be the end of Turkish democracy.”

Greer is petitioning the Scottish Parliament to join his calls for the release of the HDP parliamentarians and has written to the Turkish consulate in Edinburgh to demand the end of their imprisonment.

Event: Protest against political repression outside the Turkish consulate in Edinburgh

“I have lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament noting our concerns and calling for the release of all imprisoned MPs, including Leyla and have written to the Turkish consulate seeking their urgent reassurance that this will be the case.

“I’m also very concerned about reports that offices of the HDP have been raided by police and that internet connections have been disrupted or cut off completely across areas of the country. This repressive behaviour from the Turkish government is becoming the norm but it is unacceptable and international pressure must be brought to guarantee the safety and freedom of the press and opposition politicians,” he added.

Greer’s comments come as Kurdish solidarity protesters in Scotland plan fresh demonstrations at the Turkish consulate against the crackdown.

A protest, organised by Edinburgh University Kurdish society, is planned for Thursday 10 November from 10:30am to 12pm.

Tens of thousands of political dissidents, army and state officials, journalists and trade unionists have been arrested by the Turkish state since the coup attempt.

Tensions are also growing between Turkey and neighbouring states, with Erdogan making boisterous claims to the Iraqi city of Mosul, currently being fought over by the Iraqi army and Daesh (so called Islamic State).

As a Nato member, the UK would is bound to fight on Turkey’s side in the event the country is attacked by another state.

Picture courtesy of Facebook

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.