Former HDP co-chair Serpil Kemalbay is on hunger strike

by Steve Sweeney    


Former HDP co-chair Serpil Kemalbay has started a hunger strike in protest against her "unjust and unlawful detention and prosecution".

Kemalbay was detained in Ankara yesterday as the Turkish state escalated its attacks on the People's Democratic Party (HDP).

Kemalbay is accused of seeking to stir street protests and clashes under the guise of opposition to the Afrin offensive and has been held alone in her cell. However, she vowed to "keep fighting inside and outside the prison", promising that women will prevail and the people will win.

Turkey had ordered her arrest as part of a crackdown on all who oppose its bloody assault on Afrin. Around 600 people have been detained for protesting or for social media posts against Operation Olive Branch, which is in its third week. The government was accused of trying to "derail" the HDP by issuing 17 arrest warrants ahead of its conference which took place in Ankara last week.

Its former co-leader Selahattin Demirtas appeared in court today while former co-chair Figen Yukeskdag faces life imprisonment in isolation if found guilty of trumped-up terrorism charges at her trial next week.

The HDP remains the only political party that is opposed to Turkey's deadly attack on the largely Kurdish city of Afrin in northern Syria with the largest opposition party - the People's Republican Party (CHP) - backing Erdogan's war calling it "the right operation."

In a defiant tone she said in a statement issued through her lawyers : "We will build a free, equal, democratic society where individuals do not submit to one another. "We will struggle and establish together a life in peace. We will keep fighting inside and outside the prison. We will prevail, women will prevail, our peoples will win. With my genuine love and regards."