Greer: Concerns for safety of arrested Turkish MP

Green MSP Ross Greer has raised concerns for the safety of a Turkish MP he sponsors after it emerged she was arrested last night.

Information is currently limited, however the Turkish government has arrested at least a dozen Members of Parliament from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), including party leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ as well as Sirnak MP Leyla Birlik, who visited Scotland in June to meet with Members of the Scottish Parliament.

Ross Greer MSP is the sponsor of Leyla Birlik, a pairing system to allow HDP politicians at threat from the state to have a parliamentarian from another country monitor their safety. A number of other MSPs sponsor HDP MPs, including Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens who sponsors Idris Baluken, another MP arrested overnight.

West of Scotland MSP, Ross Greer 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.

“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.”