Turkish far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has called a Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) member killed in an attack last week "a terrorist."
Deniz Poyraz, a 20-year-old HDP member, was killed by Onur Gencer, who carried out an armed attack on the party's building in the Aegean province of İzmir on June 17. Poyraz had been covering a shift for her mother at the office.
The HDP blamed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally MHP for the attack, citing the years-long crackdown on the party.
"The instigator and abettor of this brutal attack is the AKP-MHP government and the Interior Ministry, which constantly targets our party and our members," the HDP said after the attack.
The AKP and the MHP frequently accuse the HDP of having links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). While the HDP denies this, attempts to criminalize the party have been ongoing for years.
Shortly after the attack, it was revealed that Gencer posted numerous armed pictures from Syria. Gencer was also seen to be making the sign of the Grey Wolves, a far-right group that the European Parliament recently called on the European Union to add to its terrorist list.
While the opposition and the AKP condemned the attack, MHP leader Bahçeli on June 22 claimed that Poyraz was responsible for recruiting militants for the PKK.
"I'll tell you who Deniz Poyraz was. She was a militia collaborator," Bahçeli told MHP members during a parliamentary group meeting on June 22.
The far-right politician claimed that Poyraz was in the circle that sent those who wanted to join the PKK to the militant camps.
"A militia collaborator is a terrorist that aids the organization's treacherous attacks," Bahçeli said, before slamming Poyraz's father calling his daughter "The Deniz of Kurdistan."
Bahçeli also claimed that the picture of Poyraz's breakfast that was left unfinished because of Gencer's attack was widely shared for propaganda purposes.
"The killer's pictures doing the Grey Wolves sign and holding weapons were leaked immediately as if they were kept ready," he said.
According to Bahçeli, the murder was carried out to "make HDP seem innocent" and blame the Turkish state, as well the People's Alliance consisting of the AKP and the MHP.
Bahçeli also reiterated his call for the HDP's closure.
Turkey's Constitutional Court on June 21 accepted an indictment filed by a top prosecutor seeking a ban on the HDP for alleged ties to the PKK, opening the way for a case to close parliament's third-largest party.
The case follows a years-long crackdown on the HDP, in which thousands of its members have been tried on mainly terrorism-related charges.
In 2018's parliamentary election, the HDP won 11.7% of the vote, or nearly 6 million votes.