Her voice crackling through the microphone, but with an expression of defiance clearly visible on the prison video, Caglar Demirel spoke from a distance of 1,000km to a panel of three judges in a heavily-guarded court room here. “I’ve not been shown any evidence. I reject the accusations. This case is the result of political decisions,” she declared.Demirel is in Kandira prison near Istanbul, a long way from her constituency in Diyarbakir, a largely Kurdish city in the southeast of the country. A Kurd, she is one of 29 MPs who were arrested last November in what government opponents say is an apparent bid by the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to silence opposition before a national referendum on 16 April. The result will decide whether Turkey changes to a vastly more authoritarian system with the abolition of the prime minister’s job and a president who will control the budget, nominate ministers as well as senior judges and dissolve Parliament whenever he likes. If passed, it will allow Erdogan to stay in power until 2029.
Turkish opposition MPs sit in jail as president seeks more power