Turkey launches probe into a pro-Kurdish MP over 'Iraq visit'

WION Web Team
Ankara, Turkey Published: Feb 21, 2021, 04.07 PM(IST)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

President Tayyip Erdogan, his ruling AK Party, and their ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) accuse the HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the HDP denies

Turkish prosecutors on Sunday launched a probe into a pro-Kurdish MP suspected of having travelled to a Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq where 13 Turkish hostages were killed in a failed rescue.

President Tayyip Erdogan, his ruling AK Party, and their ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) accuse the HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the HDP denies.

Also read: Turkey's Erdogan aims for 'win-win' relationship with Biden administration

The HDP has come under renewed pressure this week after the government said that fighters from the PKK had executed 13 Turkish captives in Iraq's Gara region, including military and police personnel. 

The PKK acknowledged that a group of prisoners had died, but said they were killed in a bombardment rather than executed.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that Tasdemir, who belongs to the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), had been in Gara in northern Iraq, where Turkish troops launched the rescue operation against the PKK group designated as "terrorists" by Ankara and its Western allies.

"The HDP is the party of the terrorist organisation. (Its elected officials) have no political personality. They are hostages of the PKK," Soylu alleged Saturday.

Prosecutors in Ankara said on Sunday that Soylu's comments were considered a notice and that an investigation had been launched into Tasdemir's links to an armed terrorist organisation.

Tasdemir, in a tweet on Saturday, had denied Soylu's comments.

"This country's interior minister made a statement giving my name based on the so-called accounts of one person. We will prove that this is a giant lie and slander," she wrote.

Many prominent HDP members have been investigated, tried and jailed over terrorism charges. Selahattin Demirtas, the party's former leader and one of Turkey's most prominent politicians, has been in jail for more than four years.

On Friday, Turkey's top appeals court approved a jail sentence against another HDP lawmaker on terrorism charges, potentially opening the way to revoking his parliamentary membership.

Turkey has carried out several cross-border operations into northern Iraq against the PKK, which has waged an insurgency in the mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey since 1984. It is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

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