İYİ Party leader says she positions HDP alongside PKK
Right-wing İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener has targeted the HDP by saying that her party positions it alongside the PKK.
Right-wing opposition Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener has said that her party positions the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) alongside the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Addressing İYİ Party members during a parliamentary group meeting on Nov. 3, Akşener said that the HDP should distance itself from the PKK - a call frequently made by the government.
The İYİ Party leader was commenting on an encounter during her visit to the Kurdish majority southeastern province of Siirt, where a shop owner confronted her and called Turkey's southeast "Kurdistan."
"We are denied our mother tongue and our identities. The existence of Kurdistan is denied. We are against that," Cemil Taştekin told Akşener during her visit to Siirt's Kurtalan district last week.
"We exist. The people around you, your advisers are Kurdish. The place you are at right now is Kurdistan, but unfortunately it is denied in parliament," he told the nationalist leader, prompting police to briefly detain him for "making propaganda of a terrorist organization."
According to Akşener, whose failure to respond to Taştekin was slammed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the shop owner was a HDP member.
"The AKP and its minor partner are utterly bothered by our contacts with the people. That's why they're trying everything to hinder our visits," Akşener said.
"Members of the People Alliance brought the agenda of the PKK to Turkey's agenda," she said, referring to the alliance of the AKP and MHP.
Akşener slammed both parties for keeping "Kurdistan" on their agenda since last week, as she called on them to "talk about the agenda of the people and not the PKK."
The İYİ Party's stance on the HDP is highly similar to that adopted by the AKP, which has been trying to criminalize the party for years.
Dozens of HDP members, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, are imprisoned on charges related to the PKK.