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In No-Man's Land - Kurdish Members of Parliament in Turkey

April 28, 2017

After elections in June 2015, the pro-Kurdish party HDP entered the Turkish parliament with 13.1 percent of the vote. Among its MPs were Ziya Pir, Ali Atalan and Feleknas Uca, all of whom came from Germany.

Türkei Feleknas Uca HDP Politikerin
Image: Getty Images/AFP/I. Akengin

Hoping to promote a peaceful solution to decades of armed conflict between Kurdish militants and Turkish security forces, they were soon to be disappointed.

All three deputies - Ziya Pir, Ali Atalan and Feleknas Uca - grew up in Turkish Kurdish migrant families in Germany. They decided to stand for election in Turkey in 2015 to help find a peaceful solution to the ongoing Kurdish conflict. But the recent escalation in violence has overtaken their good intentions. The lifting of their immunity was just the first step in the prosecution of democratically elected Kurdish representatives. Many HDP parliamentarians are now in prison, including the party’s two chairmen.

Criminal proceedings have also been launched against the three deputies from Germany, and they face arrest and imprisonment at any time. Michael Enger follows the three HDP deputies through the maze of political events since the election campaign in June 2015. He asks about their motives for standing for election, shines a light on the consequences of the failed military coup, and reports on how the Kurdish regions have been affected by the upsurge of violence there. What remains of their initial optimism and hope of making Turkey a more democratic country?


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