Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said that former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, sacked Kars Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, and philanthropist, human rights activist and businessman Osman Kavala are unjustly held behind bars.
Demirtaş and Kavala are still behind bars despite the fact that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled for their immediate release.
Speaking at the CHP’s group meeting on Nov. 10, Kılıçdaroğlu also said that author Ahmet Altan and military students who were detained during the 2016 coup attempt were kept behind bars unrightfully.
“Every thought should be respected in this country, that’s the only way we can claim to have a democracy. We say this so that [they] can criticize us freely when they are released, not for their votes,” the CHP leader said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also said that journalist Müyesser Yıldız had been arrested unjustly, as she was kept behind bars for 155 days for her reporting on Turkish military officials’ activities in Libya and released on Nov. 9.
“It wasn’t the prosecution that put [Yıldız] in jail, it was certain organizations within the government. They can intimidate as much as they want, but the Müyesser Yıldız I know is an honorable journalist who wouldn’t sell her pen,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The CHP leader blamed what he deemed unjust imprisonments on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.