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Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Tamer Akkal on Sept. 2 shared an offensive tweet about former Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and his two daughters. Upon public criticism of the tweet, Akkal claimed that the insulting tweet was instead posted by one of his advisers.

On Sept. 1, Selahattin Demirtaş’s wife Başak Demirtaş said the jailed politician has not been allowed to see both of his children together since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Upon Başak Demirtaş’s remarks, Akkal, who was elected as a deputy from İYİ (Good) Party during the 2018 parliamentary elections but later switched to the AKP, wrote on his Twitter account: “It seems Selo the dog cannot meet with his whelps. The children of our martyrs cannot see their fathers as well. God will give [damn] either to you or us.”

Tamer Akkal’s tweet was deleted a couple of hours after it was posted.

Demirtaş has been in jail since November 2016 on terrorism charges. The AKP government accuses the HDP of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

After Akkal’s tweet has received widespread criticism, he claimed that one of his advisers had tweeted the content “accidentally” via his account.

“The tweet which was shared early this morning through my social media account about Selahattin Demirtaş and his family, has not been posted by myself; it was posted by an adviser who confused the accounts,” Akkal said in a written message shared on his Twitter on Sept 2.

Akkal said that “the concept of family and children was one of the most holy values” of the AKP, and the “necessary procedures” would be undertaken with regards to the adviser in question.

Following the incident, Demirtaş’s lawyer Mahsuni Kahraman said that they will file a lawsuit regarding the insulting tweet. “This person [Akkal] is a living creature who became a deputy without being able to be a human. He is as bold to insult and make a threat in an explicit way, but a coward to erase what he wrote. Of course we will file a lawsuit,” Kahraman wrote on Twitter.

HDP co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar have also slammed the AKP deputy’s tweet targeting Demirtaş, saying such an action “is inhumane, a scandal and unacceptable.”

“We would like to present to the attention of the public that what Akkal wrote is an outpouring of the hate language that tramples on every kind of humane value,” the HDP co-chairs’ statement said, adding that Akkal’s tweet is so serious that it cannot be simply regarded as “an individual mistake or irresponsibility.”

“It points out to the subconscious of a mentality that separates and polarizes society. Therefore, we should also stand against this hate language and not allow it to damage the societal fabric in such a way,” the statement read.