İHD Statement on the Kobané Operation against HDP

Release Everyone Taken under Custody within the scope of Kobané Operation against HDP!


25 September 2020

People are taken under custody through police operations almost on a daily basis in Turkey and public prosecutors’ offices issue statements about those operations deemed important.

Today, too, people who had been serving on the central executive board of HDP in October 2014 and those holding other offices including Kars Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, member of the Supreme Board of Radio and Television Ali Ürküt, former deputy and member of the İmralı Delegation Sırrı Süreyya Önder, former deputies Altan Tan, Ayla Akat Ata, Emine Ayna, Beyza Üstün; former central executive board members Günay Kubilay, Dilek Yağlı, Can Memiş and current executive board members Alp Altınörs, Nazmi Gür, Gülfer Kaya and Pervin Oduncu were taken under police custody. It was stated that a custody decision was taken about a total of 82 persons including the above-mentioned.

It is seen that an investigation (2014/146757) was launched into widespread demonstrations across Turkey known as the “Kobané Incidents” during 6-8 October 2014, within the scope of which Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ are still being detained, and a custody order was delivered for those serving on HDP’s central executive board members at the time and for various other persons based on the statement released today by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

As is known, Selahattin Demirtaş, who is still imprisoned, should have been released upon the judgment of the ECtHR but his release was prevented on the grounds of the above-mentioned investigation (2014/146757) and was detained over the file on 20 September 2019.[1] A few days ago a new investigation was launched into Selahattin Demirtaş under Article 6 § 1 of the ATC because he criticized Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and the fact that no indictment was drafted within the scope of the investigation he was being kept behind bars. İHD would like to state that these custody decisions against HDP politicians, which were delivered immediately after Mr. Demirtaş’s critical statements within the scope of this investigation launched in 2014, are blatant violations of the right to liberty and security of person.

If the allegations cited by the prosecutor’s office in its statement are serious, why have they waited at least for six years? Should these allegations were serious, the public prosecutor’s office should have been responsible for taking rapid action. It seems that this investigation was launched on political motives, just as was the case in Mr. Demirtaş’s detention as was also set forth by the ECtHR in its judgment in the case of Demirtaş v. Turkey which ascertained that Turkey violated Article 18 of the ECHR.

Authorities want to render launching investigations with house raids a routine practice in Turkey. Under Article 145 of the CCP, however, suspects should have been invited to the courthouse and their statements should have been taken there within the scope of such belated investigations. The failure to do so qualifies as a confirmation of the fact that this operation was undertaken upon the order of the political power. Moreover, an investigation had been launched into former deputy Ayhan Bilgen based on the very same allegations for which the Constitutional Court had delivered a violation judgment.

Background: What Had Happened in October 2014?

Mass demonstrations were staged in order to make Turkey and Iraq’s Regional Kurdish Administration help people in Kobané after ISIS/DAESH attacked the town. The demonstrators faced intensive violence and gross human rights violations, including the right to life, committed during the demonstrations of 6-8 October 2014.[2] A civil lawsuit was launched only into the case of Yasin Börü and his friends, who were lynched and killed, among these gross human rights violations but no effective investigations or prosecutions were initiated into other death and injury cases. The allegations against Selahattin Demirtaş and other HDP executives were refuted by the court judgment delivered in the case of the murder of Yasin Börü and his friends. Yet, the fact that the investigation is still pending clearly reveals its political motivation.

Following the demonstrations Turkey lifted its embargo on Kobané, while Iraq’s Regional Kurdish Administration let the peshmerga to go to Kobané through Turkey; thus, support was extended to the historic Kobané resistance. As a result, ISIS/DAESH sustained its first major defeat in Kobané.

In spite of all these developments, one cannot simply accept the sheer politicization of law and instrumentalization of the ATC against political dissidence when six years have passed after the fact. The right to liberty and security of person has been overtly violated regarding, notably Mr. Demirtaş and Ms. Yüksekdağ, and all those taken under custody. İHD, therefore, demands that Mr. Demirtaş and Ms. Yüksekdağ who are detained and those taken under custody within the scope of this investigation should immediately be released.


Human Rights Association





[1] İHD. “Why is Selahattin Demirtaş in Jail?” 11 September 2019. <https://ihd.org.tr/en/ihd-statement-on-selahattin-demirtas/>

[2] İHD. “Kobané Report: September 2-12 2014.” 10 November 2014. <https://ihd.org.tr/en/the-report-related-to-the-resulst-of-the-violation-of-rights-that-occured-during-the-intervention-against-the-solidarity-protests-for-kobanes-resistance-september-2-12-2014/>