Turkey arrests pro-Kurdish MPs from only party with pro-LGBT policies

The leader of the pro-Kurdish HDP in Turkey has been held alongside at least 11 MPs in a crackdown following a coup.

The HDP is the only political party in Turkey which has pro-LGBT policies.

Back in April 2015, the HDP pledged to “end discrimination against LGBT people”, and to end social injustice.

The party also said it would tackle transphobia and homophobia in Turkey, where LGBT people often face discrimination and worse.
The HDP also put forward its first out gay election candidate Baris Sulu. Sulu was not selected as a nominee for November’s early election in 2015.

Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chair leader with Figen Yuksekdag, who was also arrested, and at least another 9 MPs were arrested after being reluctant to give testimoney for crimes relating to “terrorist propaganda”.

The home of Demirtaş was raided by police in Diyarbakır on Friday.

Raids also took place in the cities of Van and Bingöl, reports the Guardian.

The raids come following a failed coup in July, after which Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım spoke out to say elected officials who “encourage terrorism” should face charges.

But President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been accused of attempting to consolidate his power ahead of parliamentary votes in 2017.

There will also be a referendum seeking to re-write the Turkish constitution to change the system from a parliamentary democracy into a presidential system.

A German MEP was among some 19 who were detained for holding a Pride demonstration in Istanbul despite a Government ban.

The demonstration went ahead despite the organisers of Istanbul Pride having issued a statement calling off the demonstration citing security concerns as well as a Government ban.

Organisers tweeted to say that at least 19 people had been detained.

Officials in Turkey earlier in the year ordered that the capital’s Pride parade be cancelled – claiming the ban was because of ‘security’ concerns following a mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando which left 49 dead.

When demonstrators took to the streets, over 300 police officers were deployed to the scene in riot gear. A water cannon was also seen at the site of the march.

According to reports, one man tore up a pro gay-rights banner.

During a “scuffle” as was described by the BBC, police opened fire with tear gas, using rubber bullets.

Last year’s Istanbul Pride was also forcibly dispersed by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.