CHP head slams the arrest of activists defending secularism
Main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP) Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed the the arrest two activists defending secularism. >
"How do you justify the arrest of young people defending secularism?" Kılıçdaroğlu asked the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), on his official Twitter account.
"AKP acknowledges defending of constitution as a crime. How do you justify the arrest of young people defending secularism? If defending constitutions unalterable by laws is a crime then the President and AKP Government has committed a crime by swearing on it" he added.
wo activists were arrested, after participating in a speech protesting Islamic State (IS) attack on Istanbuls Reina nightclub that killed 39 people and wounded 65 others.
An Istanbul court ordered arrest of Ayşegül Başar and Hamit Dışkaya, participating a speech at a teahouse in the Istanbul neighborhood of Okmeydanı, calling for secularism, in a video on Youtube.
"We say 'enough.' From now on, we wont allow IS or any reactionary jihadist gang into our neighborhoods" said in the video, as Halkevleri members - including Ayşegül Başar and Hamit Dışkaya - listen in the background.
After the video went viral on social media, a Twitter user denounced it in a tweet posted to the Interior Ministrys official Twitter account. "Terrorists are inviting people to civil war in Okmeydanı. Stop these traitors" wrote the user, addressing the Interior Ministry.
The tweet received a reply from the ministry, which stated that the person speaking in the video should be identified and the location of the speech found. "The video has been transmitted to anti-terror units. Please identify the person wherever you see him" the reply sent by the Interior Ministrys official account read.
The ministrys tweet drew a condemnation on social media and was deleted nearly two hours after it was posted. Lawmakers from the main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP) slammed the exchange and a hashtag reading Secularism is not a crime was launched.
Despite the Interior Ministry deleting its tweet, Halkevleri members Ayşegül Başar and Hamit Dışkaya, who can be seen in the background of the video listening to the speech, were detained by police at her house in the early hours of Monday and later on arrested.
CHP Istanbul deputy Barış Yarkadaş released a statement after Başars detention, saying she would be held by police for five days. "Why is the Interior Ministry bothered by youths making anti-IS propaganda?" Yarkadaş asked. "They try to catch not the perpetrator of the terror act but those who condemn ISIL and praise secularism" he added.
Mahmut Can Emir / Istanbul DHA