U.S. monitoring attempts to overturn will of Turkish voters

The U.S. administration has said it is monitoring attempts to strip pro-Kurdish lawmakers of parliamentary immunity.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson told Ahval that the United States is "aware" of recent Turkish government requests to lift the parliamentary immunities of nine lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and is "monitoring the situation".  

The nine lawmakers, including co-chair Pervin Buldan are accused of allegedly inciting the street protests in 2014, in response to the seemingly anti-Kurdish policy of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when the Islamic State (ISIS) militias besieged the northeast Syrian Kurdish-majority city of Kobane. 

"The United States continues to closely watch any attempts to overturn the will of the voters including through legal proceedings," the statement to Ahval said, noting that the legislators in question were elected in 2018.

Turkey’s Court of Cassation approved on Thursday a two year, six month prison sentence issued to HDP lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu on charges of terrorist propaganda. The reason for his conviction for his re-tweeting of an article from Turkish news site T24, Gergerlioğlu said in a Twitter post.

The U.S. spokesperson emphasized that the investigation should be handled with "transparency and respect for individual rights."  

"Respect for rule of law and individual rights ensures that the results of these investigations reinforce confidence in the Turkish judicial system," the statement added.

HDP delegations and three top ministers from Erdoğan's government met and signed peace talks protocol in early 2015 as part of the Kurdish peace process between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government, months after the Kobane street protests.

HDP lawmakers were only accused of inciting street protests years later, following the failed coup attempt of 2016 after the collapse of the peace talks. 

HDP members visited the Qandil Mountains, the headquarters for the PKK, during the talks with the blessings of the governing party. Photos with PKK members during those visits were used in later years as proof for HDP's ties to the PKK and their prosecutions.

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