Turkish Protesters Urge Release of Jailed Opposition MP

The Workers' Party of Turkey, TIP, holds a protest in Istanbul. Photo: Workers' Party of Turkey

"We demand respect for the will of the people of Hatay," the TIP said in a statement.

"What is happening is against the constitution in every way. End this illegality and enforce the laws from which you derive your authority," it added.

Atalay has been in prison for more than a year after he was jailed for 18 years for his role in the so-called Gezi Park protests of 2013.

The Turkish government classified the protests, the first nationwide uprising against Erdogan's rule, as an attempted coup.

Atalay was convicted in April 2022 in a trail that also saw the philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala sentenced to life in prison for allegedly trying to overthrow President Erdogan's government.

As well as jailing Kavala for life, the court sentenced Atalay, Mucella Yapici, Cigdem Mater, Hakan Altınay, Mine Ozerden, Tayfun Kahraman and Yigit Ali Ekmekci to 18 years in prison for aiding the alleged attempt to overthrow the government.

Atalay was elected as an MP in the May 14 elections and his status as a legislator was approved by the Turkish Supreme Election Council and parliament.

However, he still remains behind bars despite tha fact that under the law, he should be released.

In addition to staging nationwide protests, the TIP has also nominated Atalay for speaker of parliament.

President Erdogan and his party won both parliamentary and presidential elections last month.

Experts have expressed concerns that the strongman leader who has already been ruling the country for 21 years will intensify his crackdown on his opponents during his next five years in office.

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