Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s co-chair (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş has reportedly said he would rather wear a shroud than a uniform in court appearances, in response to a new mandatory dress code measure that has been imposed by the Turkish government.
“We would rather wear a shroud than wear a uniform and bow in front of fascism,” Demirtaş said via his lawyers on Dec. 24 from the Edirne Prison, where he has been held since November 2016.
“We will never accept governmental attempts to turn fascism into a permanent governance system through the state of emergency and decree laws,” he said.
According to the government’s latest post-coup decrees numbered 695, 696, people who have been imprisoned over “offenses against Constitutional order” are now required to wear dusty orange and gray jumpsuits.
“Those behind bars who were convicted of offences against the Constitutional order and who were arrested pending trial over similar charges will be brought to the court hearings in dusty orange and gray jumpsuits,” the government decree, No. 696, read. The color of the new dress code will be decided depending on the type and severity of the alleged crime. Pregnant prisoners and children will be exempt from such regulation while the rules for the female inmates in general will be decided later, according to the decree.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in mid-July that people detained over coup charges should wear a single outfit, like in Guantanamo. “When they appear in court, let’s make them appear in one-type uniform like in Guantanamo,” he said during an Istanbul rally to mark the first anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Erdogan’s proposal came only a week after one of the suspects on trial for an assassination attempt against Erdoğan on the night of the failed coup was thrown out of the courtroom for wearing a T-shirt bearing the word “hero” because it caused tension between the parties during the hearing.
Any material bearing the word “hero” has become suspicious leading to a series of detentions across Turkey. At least 42 people have been detained for wearing “hero” T-shirts since last summer.
Overall, nearly 150,000 people have passed through police custody while 60,000 of them have been put in pretrial detention over alleged ties to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the failed takeover. The movement denies any involvement.
On Sunday, Turkish government also purged a total of 2,756 people, including 105 academics, from state institutions in an accompanying decree, No. 695, increasing the total number of people who lost their jobs to 150,688.
The decree 695 also shut down 7 associations, 7 foundations, 2 newspapers and a private company. 189 media outlets have been closed since the summer of 2016.