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John Brady TD challenges Turkish parliamentary delegation to Leinster House over exclusion of Kurdish Party members

25 January, 2023 - by John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, challenged members of a Turkish delegation to Leinster House during a meeting of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence (JCFAD). 

Members of the Kurdish political party HDP (also known as the People's Democracy Party) had been deliberately excluded from what was supposed to be an all-party delegation from the Turkish parliament. 

The Wicklow TD said:

“I became aware of a copy of a letter from the three HDP members of the Turkish Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission, in which they outlined their exclusion from the delegation that visited Leinster House. They elaborated further to detail how they have been excluded from all foreign visits since 2016. They are simply not informed of the impending visits.

“There have been moves afoot in Türkiye since 2021 to attempt to ban the HDP. A recurring process that the Kurdish party has put through several times before. The prosecutor leading the legal process made his final case on January 10.

“The Turkish Presidential election is scheduled to take place on May 14. It is believed that the Turkish authorities will attempt to time the final judgement against the HDP to just prior to the election to effectively exclude them from the ballot in the very final stages of the campaign.

“Alongside these, efforts are being made to cut funding from the HDP, targeting their bank accounts, and cutting the party off from statutory funding which all political parties are entitled to.

“In the last election in Türkiye, the HDP secured 10 percent of the vote. It is predicted that in the upcoming Presidential election that they will secure somewhere between 12 to 15 percent.

“If the Turkish prosecutor is successful in banning the HDP, it will have major implications for the chances of re-election of outgoing President Erdogan. Who after twenty years in power, has been under significant pressure in the run up to the ballot, largely as a result of the failure of the government to tackle the rampant inflation in Türkiye.

“As a member of Sinn Féin, I am all too aware of the failure of the politics of exclusion. My party was excluded, discriminated against, and banned from the airwaves for decades. But it is only through inclusion, through dialogue and partnership that peace and justice can be achieved."

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