14:44, December 05 49 0 theguardian.com

2017-12-05 14:44:03
Democracy in Turkey is going on trial

On 6 and 7 December democracy goes on trial in Turkey. Opposition politicians Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ will appear in court on trumped-up charges of terrorism, facing lengthy jail sentences. Their party, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is the third largest in Turkey. In 2015 they won parliamentary seats for the first time, representing a breakthrough for progressive forces and democracy in the country.

However, the state of emergency in place since the July 2016 coup attempt has been used to clamp down on all forms of opposition in Turkey. In November 2016 HDP MPs across the country were taken from their homes and detained. Currently there are nine MPs from the HDP in Turkish prisons along with 85 mayors and an estimated 10,000 activists. Journalists, academics and public sector workers have been purged from their posts. One million people are displaced in Turkey’s largely Kurdish south-east with cities including Cizre and Nusaybin flattened. The prosecutions of Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ are nothing more than show trials. We send a message of solidarity to Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş and demand their immediate and unconditional release from prison.

Noam Chomsky Professor emeritus, MIT

Clive Lewis MP

David Lammy MP

Kate Osamor MP

Karen Lee MP

Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite

Laura Smith MP

Julie Ward MEP

Chris Williamson MP

Dr Kerem Nisancioglu SOAS, University of London and London Middle East Institute

Dr Adam Elliott-Cooper King’s College London

Dr Ayça Çubukçu Assistant professor, LSE Centre for Human Rights

Rosa Gilbert Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign

Steve Sweeney Journalist

Oktay Sahbaz Solidarity with the People of Turkey

Manuel Cortes TSSA General Secretary

Doug Nicholls GFTU General Secretary

Grahame Morris MP

Dan Carden MP

Ian Mearns MP

Sean Hoyle RMT President

Steve Hedley RMT Assistant General Secretary

Eddie Dempsey RMT National Executive Committee

Paul Glover Chair of Unison International Committee

Martin Powell-Davies London Regional Secretary, National Education Union

Louise Regan Joint National President, National Education Union

Rob Williams National Shop Stewards Network

Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition Convenor

John Rees Stop the War Coalition National Officer

Paul Maskey MP

Francie Molloy MP

Michelle Gildernew MP

Mickey Brady MP

Barry McElduff MP

Elisha McCallion MP

Chris Hazzard MP

Peter Tatchell Human Rights campaigner

Julie Hesmondhalgh Actor

Barry White Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom

Ben Chacko Editor, Morning Star

Liz Davies

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters