Turkish gov't targets HDP over deaths of 13 in Iraq, tries to link it to PKK

The Turkish government has used the deaths of 13 Turks in Iraq to target the HDP by claiming that it's linked to the PKK ".Not all terrorists shoot people or blow things up. PKK and HDP are one and the same," Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said.

Duvar English

Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun has used the deaths of 13 Turks in northern Iraq to target the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and claim that the party is the "political wing" of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Altun on Feb. 14 shared a video on Twitter titled, "The Origins of HDP-PKK relations" and claimed that the PKK and the HDP "are one and the same." 

The video features footage of former HDP deputies, including imprisoned former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, and alleges that they spread "terrorist propaganda." It makes no mention of the fact that the HDP is the third-largest party in parliament and that it has received some six million votes in the most recent general elections. 

Altun shared the video in both Turkish and English, as he called the HDP "a puppet of the PKK" in the Turkish one. 

It was the second time on the same day that Altun targeted the HDP. 

"Have you no shame?" he asked earlier.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) often accuse the HDP of being the political wing of the PKK. Scores of elected HDP officials, including former deputies, are currently behind bars on charges linked to the PKK.

The HDP, meanwhile, released a statement on the deaths of 13 Turks, including soldiers and intelligence officers, urging the PKK to release everyone it holds captive.

"We convey our condolences and express our deep sadness on the deaths of everyone who were deprived of protecting themselves from an armed attack," the HDP said, adding that the PKK had previously held state officials captive in the past 40 years, but they were able to be saved through diplomatic efforts.

The party also said that the families of those held captive by the PKK reached out to the HDP, but the government paid no attention to the issue.

Calling on the PKK and the government to inform the public on the incident, the HDP urged domestic and international rights organizations to investigate the deaths.

"The only way to prevent deaths is to end policies of conflict and solve the Kurdish issue through democratic and peaceful means."

'The truth can't be destroyed through insults and threats'

Also on Feb. 14, investigations were launched into HDP deputies Hüda Kaya and Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu over their social media posts. 

Kaya on Twitter slammed both the government and the opposition over the deaths of 13 Turks and said, "The truth can't be destroyed through insults, lynching, slanders and threats" in the face of the campaign launched against her. 

"The soldiers, police officers and intelligence officials could have returned home alive if this was sought. This was managed before," Kaya said, referring to the earlier incidents when captives held by the PKK were safely brought to Turkey.

"The government needed blood, terror, deaths and lies to prevent its rule from collapsing," she noted. 

According to Kaya, the families of the said 13 individuals visited parliament numerous times in the past and everyone except for the HDP ignored their cries for help. 

"Those who shut their doors to these families are now seeking to benefit from their sons' blood," she said. 

Turning to the opposition, Kaya said, "The AKP-MHP government must be grateful to you!" 

"You support the dirty and bloody campaign that's being tried to be formed through our soldiers' blood," she said, referring to the statements from opposition parties that fell short of questioning the AKP's airstrikes in the area and the fact that the captives weren't saved. 

"The proposals to reveal the details of this incident that will be given in parliament will be rejected by the AKP and the MHP. The truth won't be prevented from coming out no matter what the price is!" she noted.