Unseated Turkey opposition MP appeals to top court

Unseated Turkey opposition MP appeals to top court
Outspoken pro-Kurdish MP Gergerlioglu has applied to have his seat in parliament reinstated.
2 min read
Gergerlioglu was stripped of his seat over a social media post [Getty]
A Turkish opposition party MP said on Tuesday he had applied to the Constitutional Court to cancel the decision to revoke his seat over a conviction related to a social media post.

Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu was an outspoken rights advocate and MP for the pro-Kurdish leftist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) before he was expelled from parliament last week.

The HDP is Turkey's second-largest opposition party but faces closure since a prosecutor demanded a top court shut down the group last week.

Critics question the judiciary's independence and analysts expect the HDP to either be banned or have its access to state aid as a party blocked by the top court.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an accusation the party denies.

The PKK, which has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, is proscribed a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies.

Gergerlioglu would frequently call attention to egregious rights violations like strip searches in prisons and the disappearances of individuals since the 2016 failed coup against Erdogan.

After the parliament revoked his seat last Wednesday, Gergerlioglu refused to leave and slept in the building until Sunday, when he was briefly detained and then released.

Last month, the top appeals court upheld his conviction of "spreading terrorism propaganda" based on a tweet from 2016, two years before he was elected to parliament.

The European Union and the United States have also expressed concern over what happened to Gergerlioglu and the risk to the HDP.

"This is my last hope. The Constitutional Court can put an end to this farce," Gergerlioglu told reporters on outside the courthouse in Ankara on Tuesday.

"A decision was made here that rides roughshod over the constitution," he added, calling on parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop to resign.

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