İdris Baluken, a member of Turkey’s parliament since 2011, was sentenced yesterday to 16 years 8 months in prison on trumped up terrorism charges relating to speeches he made. This is a huge assualt on free speech and the rights of Kurds in Turkey to stand for parliament and represent themselves democratically. Baluken is a trained surgeon and worked in state hospitals until he became a politician. Here is the statement he released following the announcement of the sentence.
“The public here and abroad is aware that the judicial process in which our political work is targeted is not legal but instead is politically motivated. The political sentencing of myself on the 4 January 2018 has no legal or lawful boundaries and shows that political genocide is still continuing.
The decision is aiming to strangle our struggle for democracy, peace and freedom. All our supporters should know that we will continue to adhere to the values of our freedom and democracy struggle until the end, whatever the cost.
In this sense, our determination will once again prevail against the political genocide pursued against us. With the deepest belief of success in the struggle for democracy, peace and freedom, I salute the people of Turkey and all our friends.”