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Beştaş spoke to Cumhuriyet: ‘Yes’ was engineered in the referendum

HDP Adana MP and Parliamentary Constitutional Commission Member Meral Danış Beştaş, speaking to Cumhuriyet following her release, said, ‘There is no freedom in an atmosphere in which MPs, intellectuals, journalists and writers are in prison. The attempt is being made to imprison thought there.’
Yayınlanma tarihi: 24 Nisan 2017 Pazartesi, 10:53

 
Mahmut Oral
 
HDP Deputy General Co-Chair and Adana MP Meral Danış Beştaş spoke to Cumhuriyet following her release. Beştaş, saying, ‘It was nice that we were released, but there can be no doubt that in a democratic law-based state we should not have been detained at all,’ said, ‘But we were detained and spent the referendum period inside. The releases do not mean that, democratic politics has been liberated and everyone can give free expression to their thoughts. Twelve of our member of parliament colleagues, including our co-chairs, members of the Party Assembly and Central Executive Committee, our local administrators and mayors are still inside. Politics has not been liberated in an environment in which politics is under detention and politicians are still in prison. Hence, all political prisoners must be released at once’
It is unacceptable for journalists to be inside
Beştaş, calling for the release of our newspaper’s detained columnists and managers, said, ‘Cumhuriyet newspaper’s columnists and managers, who are alleged to have committed thought crimes through the press, must also by the same token be released. It is unacceptable for journalists to be inside. There is no freedom in an atmosphere in which MPs, intellectuals, journalists and writers are in prison. The attempt is being made to imprison thought there.’
‘Yes’ did not win, it was engineered
Beştaş, saying, ‘My body alone was inside, but my spirit, thoughts and demands were outside,’ assessed the referendum process and results as follows: ‘I had absolutely no doubt that “no” would prevail. I still stand by that thought. “Yes” did not win, it was engineered. We have run into the biggest blot on Turkey’s election and referendum history. This is a very serious charge. For the Supreme Election Council to break the law and pass such a resolution before the count was yet underway and with voting still in progress and, above all else, based on hearsay, shows that the poll did not in any way take place in a democratic environment and interference with the ballot boxes had previously been planned.’
There is a need for language that will eliminate division
Beştaş, noting that Turkey appears to be divided in two in the aftermath of the Supreme Election Council resolution, said, ‘There is a need for language and a less constrictive approach that will eliminate this division and foster rapprochement. Immediate talk of the death penalty does not accord with this expectation. With every second person in Turkey having voted differently, this attitude that will fire up one side even more while alienating and excluding the other side will do Turkey no good from the outset. Prime responsibility here rests with the ruling party and they must take this message that has emerged from the referendum on board. The results in Istanbul, Ankara, Diyarbakır, Izmir and the other big cities are plain for all to see. Voters in both the Kurdish provinces and Turkey’s big cities said, “We are speaking our mind in the face of everything.” What am I driving at with, “In the face of everything?” “We spoke our mind in the face of death, detention, arrest, being led away following detention, expulsion and many other things.”’ She noted that this was very significant.
What we need as 2019 approaches is for a new, democratic constitution to be made
Beştaş, saying, ‘At least half of Turkey – and I believe it was more -  voted for freedom, equality, justice and a democratic system. It said “no” to the current outlook,’ continued as follows: ‘If referendums that change the system are not accepted as being legitimate they cannot be accepted by the people, not only in the short term, but also in the long term. This is how it must be perceived. I believe that the ruling party will make very serious assessments in this regard in the run-up to 2019. In fact, their own voters also said “no” to them. As to the claim that Kurds voted for the AKP, this is total speculation. This is a means to which resort is being made to conceal the rights violations, the improprieties and irregularities experienced on polling day. Even though there were thousands of reported improprieties, none of them was investigated and taken into consideration. Despite all this, what we need as 2019 approaches is for a new, democratic, all-embracing constitution to be made. Even if this referendum is over – you know, they made proclamations like: “You’ve missed the market in Bor” or “The taker of the horse has passed Üsküdar” – but I don’t think that horse has done so. We must basically as we approach 2019 all together find common ground over a text at the least common denominator in accordance with the spirit of the social contract and invoking the common will and the common will of both fifty percents. This must be the slogan for 2019.’

There may be different alliances over the coming two years

HDP Diyarbakır MP Nursel Aydoğan, who spoke to Cumhuriyet following her release, stressed that the results to emerge from the referendum showed that nothing would be and work like it used to any more Turkey, and said, ‘The old truths no longer hold. For the first time in Turkey, the HDP or the Kurds united on a single front and waged a campaign with Turkey’s other dynamics, for example right-wing voters, conservative voters and nationalist voters. This is a first in Turkey. Prejudices have been shattered. Meral Akşener came to Diyarbakır, for example, and shook hands with the people of the region. This is very important.’ Aydoğan, saying, ‘If in the coming period a common candidate is fielded who is able to act with equal proximity to everyone in the presidential election, a result has emerged that will enable the “no” camp to win,’ said, ‘There may be different alliances over the coming two years. We campaigned in this referendum on the same side as the CHP. Our bases became acquainted with one another.’
I waited for Cumhuriyet every day
Aydoğan, indicating that she shared the same cell with DBP Co-Chair Sebahat Tuncel in Istanbul’s Silivri Prison No 9, stated that our paper’s columnists and managers are being subjected to full solitary confinement in the prison where they are being held on detention, and said, ‘I looked and waited for Cumhuriyet every day because of its editorial line that carries reports on all sections of society. As far as I can determine, there is a different managerial policy as opposed to those on the inside. There are conditions of full solitary confinement. As to Cumhuriyet’s columnists and managers, they are under even stricter solitary confinement. I only saw journalist Ahmet Şık from a distance while going to receive a visit, but it was not possible to see anybody else. I have heard that the exercise space for Cumhuriyet’s columnists and managers is covered with a wire cage. They can only see the sky through a wire cage. There can be no justification for such a measure.’
The prosecutors who compiled our files are almost all on detention in Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation cases
Aydoğan, disputing the existence of a connection between their release and the referendum finally being over, pointed out that Gültan Kışanak, Sebahat Tuncel, Ferhat Encü and Gülser Yıldırım, who made appearances in other courts on the same day, were not released, and recalled that the detained HDP MPs were more or less charged with the same things – attending DTK meetings and membership of a proscribed organisation. Aydoğan said, ‘Our files nearly all involve crimes relating to the years 2010-2011. The prosecutors who compiled our files are almost all on detention in Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation cases. Ergenekon and the other cases have collapsed but our prosecutions are still continuing. I think that the ruling party is pressurising the judiciary, but that, despite everything, there may be independent and impartial members of the judiciary in this country.
The ‘no’ camp can win with a common candidate
Aydoğan, having said, ‘If in the coming period a common candidate is fielded who is able to act with equal proximity to everyone in the presidential election, a result has emerged that will enable the “no” camp to win,’ continued, ‘With the ruling party starting to lose votes especially in the big cities, this shows that some things are starting to change as far as it is concerned. People are no longer blindly voting for the AKP like they did ten years ago and there is a voter profile that is ready for change. These are all things that will be assessed in the time to come. We have not lost our hope as a party. We campaigned in this referendum on the same side as the CHP. Our bases became acquainted with one another. As far as I have been informed, for example in Istanbul, people from the CHP, HDP and HDK, left-wing and socialist circles and democratic Muslims took the initiative and set up “no” assemblies together external to party headquarters. They set up an alliance of this kind. They set up an alliance on a local basis external to the political parties. This is very important. People from these groups went from door to door together. These are points that merit examination and attention going forward. This is more important now we have the presidential system and the importance of combining to prepare for elections has emerged.’

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