Figen Yüksekdağ

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Figen Yüksekdağ
Figen Yüksekdağ.jpg
Chairwoman of the Peoples' Democratic Party
In office
22 June 2014 – 9 March 2017
Preceded byErtuğrul Kürkçü
& Sebahat Tuncel
Succeeded bySerpil Kemalbay
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
7 June 2015 – 21 February 2017
ConstituencyVan (June 2015, Nov 2015)
Leader of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed
In office
29 January 2010 – 7 September 2014
Preceded byparty established
Succeeded bySultan Ulusoy
Personal details
Figen Yüksekdağ

(1971-12-19) 19 December 1971 (age 51)
Adana, Turkey
Political partySocialist Party of the Oppressed
Peoples' Democratic Party

Figen Yüksekdağ Şenoğlu[2][3] (born 19 December 1971) is a Turkish politician and journalist, who was a former co-leader of the left-wing Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) of Turkey from 2014 to 2017, serving alongside Selahattin Demirtaş. She was a Member of Parliament for Van since the June 2015 general election until her parliamentary membership was revoked by the courts on 21 February 2017.[4] Her party membership and therefore her co-leadership position were revoked by the courts on 9 March 2017 following a six-year prison sentence for distributing "terrorist propaganda".[5]

Life and work[edit]

Figen Yüksekdağ grew up as the ninth of ten children in a rural Turkmen[6] family in the village Gölovası, Yumurtalık, in Adana Province. She describes her family as devout, conservative and nationalistic. Nevertheless, her father made a point that his daughters were studying and were successful. During her time in high school, she began to engage in political activities and joined the labor movement. When she was arrested on an International Workers' Day demonstration, this led to conflicts in the family. At the age of 18 she left home and went to Istanbul; later the relationship to her family normalized again.[7][8]

Political career[edit]

She was an independent parliamentary candidate for the Adana electoral district in the 2002 general election. She was involved in women's rights movements for several years before becoming the editor of the Socialist Woman magazine. While serving on the board of the Atılım newspaper, she was taken into custody in 2009 due to her political activity. She cofounded the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP)[9] shortly after in 2010 and resigned as leader in 2014 to join the HDP, with which the ESP merged later the same year.[10] In June 2014 Yüksekdağ was elected the co-leader of the HDP together with Selahattin Demirtaş.[11] She was elected as an Member of Parliament (MP) on the 7 June 2015,[12] and re-elected on 1 November 2015.[13]

Legal prosecution[edit]

She was stripped of the parliamentary immunity in May 2016[14] and prohibited from leaving Turkey in October of the same year.[15] She was arrested on the 3 November 2016 for allegedly not cooperating in “terror”-related investigations.[14] On 21 February 2017 the parliament revoked her parliamentary membership and on the 9 March 2017 the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled she was no longer a member of the HDP.[1] On 11 April 2017 she was sentenced to 1 year in prison for “terror propaganda.”[16] On 7 January 2019 she was sentenced to pay 1'740 Turkish Lira for insulting the Turkish president President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[17] On the 17 March 2021, the Turkish state prosecutor before the Court of Cassation Bekir Şahin, filed a lawsuit before the Constitutional Court demanding for Yüksekdağ and 686 other HDP politicians a five-year ban to engage in politics.[18][19] The lawsuit was filed jointly with a request of a closure of the HDP due to the parties alleged organizational links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Yüksekdağ Removed From HDP Membership". Bianet. 9 March 2017.
  2. ^ "ESP Genel Başkanı; Figen Yüksekdağ". Archived from the original on 2015-10-02. Retrieved 2015-03-29.
  3. ^ EZİLENLERİN SOSYALİST PARTİSİ (ESP) Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Son Dakika: HDP Eş Genel Başkanı Figen Yüksekdağ'ın milletvekilliği düştü".
  5. ^ "Figen Yüksekdağ'ın HDP üyeliği düşürüldü". Deutsche Welle Türkçe (in Turkish). 9 March 2017.
  6. ^ Armutçu, Emel. "Haşarı küçük kız büyüdü dişli bir politikacı oldu". (in Turkish). Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  7. ^ Laura Secorun Palet (6 April 2015). "Meet Figen Yüksekdağ, Turkey's Political Firestarter". Huffigton Post. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  8. ^ Pinar Tremblay (11 February 2015). "Kurdish women's movement reshapes Turkish politics". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  9. ^ Yvo Fitzherbert (21 July 2015). "Suruç massacre: today we mourn, tomorrow we rebuild". Roar Magazine. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  10. ^ "ESP'nin Genel Başkanı Bir Kadın: Figen Yüksekdağ - kadın-lgbti". Bianet - Bagimsiz Iletisim Agi.
  11. ^ Czajka, Agnes (2016-11-03). Democracy and Justice: Reading Derrida in Istanbul. Taylor & Francis. p. 114. ISBN 9781317436027.
  12. ^ "VAN SEÇİM SONUÇLARI - 1 KASIM 2015 GENEL SEÇİM SONUÇLARI". Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  13. ^ "VAN SEÇİM SONUÇLARI - 1 KASIM 2015 GENEL SEÇİM SONUÇLARI". Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  14. ^ a b "Arrest of Kurdish politicians in Turkey threatens further upheaval | DW | 06.11.2016". DW.COM. Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  15. ^ "Kandil bids farewell to Journalist Deniz Fırat". Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  16. ^ Kurdistan24. "Turkey court sentences pro-Kurdish leader to one year in prison". Kurdistan24. Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  17. ^ "Former HDP leader Yüksekdağ fined in Erdoğan insult case". Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  18. ^ "Turkish prosecutor seeks political ban on 687 pro-Kurdish politicians". Gazete Duvar. 2021-03-18. Retrieved 2021-03-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ a b "HDP indictment seeks political ban for 687 members, including Demirtaş, Buldan and Sancar". Bianet. Retrieved 2021-03-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)