Turkey launches probe into HDP MP following Soylu's claim that she visited PKK base in Gara

An investigation was launched into HDP deputy Dilan Dirayet Taşdemir after Interior Minister Soylu claimed that she visited a PKK base in Iraq's Gara, where 13 Turks held captive by the group were killed on Feb. 14. Taşdemir immediately denied Soylu's allegations on Feb. 20 and said that she will prove him wrong.

Duvar English - Reuters

Turkish authorities are investigating a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) over her suspected links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), prosecutors said on Feb. 21, after a minister said the lawmaker had visited an area in northern Iraq where 13 Turks were killed.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and their ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) accuse the HDP of links to the PKK, which the HDP denies.

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

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told broadcaster AHaber on Feb. 20 that the HDP's Dilan Dirayet Taşdemir had visited Gara, according to an account by someone he said was a PKK militant who had surrendered. Ankara says the PKK has several bases in Gara.

Prosecutors in Ankara said on Feb. 21 that Soylu's comments were considered a notice and that an investigation had been launched into Taşdemir's alleged links to an "armed terrorist organization."

Taşdemir, in a tweet on Feb. 20, 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 Demirtaş, the party's former co-chair and one of Turkey's most prominent politicians, has been in jail for more than four years.

On Feb. 19, Turkey's top appeals court approved a jail sentence against another HDP lawmaker, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, 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.