The co-chairs of the Turkish Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Yesiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi) Eylem Tuncaelli and Naci Sönmez are among 11 people calling for peace who could face an 8-year jail term following formal proceedings by the Ankara Chief State Prosecutor.

They are due to appear at the Ankara Central Court on 19 July at 10am.

The official charges are the “promotion of enmity among the population” and “propaganda for a terror organisation.”  Both the co-chairs have repeatedly reiterated that all of their communication, both online and offline has been entirely peaceful in nature.

A European delegation, including European Green Party committee member Evelyne Huytebroeck, German Green MP Margit Stumpp, and Greens/EFA Group MEP and vice-chair Bodil Valero, will be attending the trial in the capital.

Commenting ahead of the verdict, European Green Party committee member Evelyne Huytebroeck said:

“Both politicians have always acted in the interests of peace and have been vocal in opposing violence. They have dedicated their careers to public service and should now be allowed to return to their work serving the best interests of the Turkish people.  A European delegation from Belgium, Sweden and Germany will be in attendance in Ankara throughout the proceedings to express support and solidarity from Europe’s Green political family towards our Turkish friends.”

German Green MP Margit Stumpp commented: “The Turkish Greens have always spoken proudly in defense of the vulnerable and the voiceless and made this part of their life’s work.  Whether it has been to fight for the interests of the Turkish youth or to urge the authorities to tackle climate change, their voice has played an important role in helping foster a more diverse society.  Freedom of expression is integral to a functioning society and must be defended at all costs.

Greens/EFA Group MEP and vice-chair Bodil Valero added: “Eylem Tuncaelli and Naci Sönmez are entirely innocent of any wrongdoing and the fictitious charges against them must be dropped immediately. They have been denied the right to leave the country for several months pending the trial and the judges should now ensure that all travel restrictions are lifted.  We urge the presiding judges to uphold the integrity of the courts and allow justice to prevail.”