Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Jan. 24 shared footage taken in the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) building in Istanbul's Esenyurt district following a raid that was carried out earlier.
Footage showed pictures of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan on the walls of the office, as well as other figures from the organization.
"This is Esenyurt HDP building at 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 23. It's always possible to abuse democracy," Soylu said in a tweet.
23 Ocak 2021— Süleyman Soylu | Maske😷 Mesafe↔️ Temizlik🧼 (@suleymansoylu) January 24, 2021
Esenyurt HDP binası
Demokrasinin istismarı her daim mümkündür..
AİHM kararları, Venedik kriterleri vs..
Batı istismara müsaade etmiyor,
Ancak bizden istiyor.
Dünyanın hiçbir demokratik ülkesinde buna müsaade edilmez... pic.twitter.com/2DukbLyHSI
"Rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Venice Criteria and etc. The West doesn't allow any abuse, but asks us to do. This can never be allowed in any democratic country in the world," he said.
Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also shared the footage, saying that the PKK is equal to the HDP.
"Is there anyone left who doesn't understand why mothers are waiting in front of the [southeastern province of] Diyarbakır building of the HDP?" Altun asked, referring to a group of women who have been doing a sit-in in front of the HDP building with the demand to reunite with their children, who were allegedly kidnapped by the PKK.
Diyarbakır Anneleri'nin HDP binalarının önünde neden beklediğini hala anlamayan kaldı mı?— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) January 24, 2021
Bir kere daha görüyoruz ki HDP DEMEK, PKK DEMEKTİR!
HDP ile ittifak kuranlar bu görüntüler karşısında ne diyecek?
Maalesef yine susacak, cürümlerine devam edecekler!pic.twitter.com/3ojZrWRR1D
"We once again see that the HDP means the PKK," he said, while also slamming opposition parties for "allying themselves with the HDP."
"What will those who form alliances with the HDP say in the face of this footage? They will, unfortunately, remain silent and continue their offenses," he also said.
Shortly after Soylu's post, the calls to shut the HDP down became a trending topic on Twitter.
The HDP is often accused of being the political branch of the PKK, which is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The HDP denies this.
During the raid on Jan. 23, police seized materials from the office after carrying out a search that lasted for six hours and detained the party's district co-chairs, Ercan Sağlam and Dilan Kılıç. They were later released.
The operation was launched after images on social media showed Öcalan's portraits on the walls of the office that were taken by Esenyurt Municipality officials, who were in the building to carry out disinfection works against COVID-19.
HDP Istanbul provincial co-chair Erdal Avcı on Jan. 24 said that the footage was taken six months ago.
"The municipal team took pictures secretly and shared them on social media. The municipality must release a statement," Avcı said.
Bu kareler 6 ay önce çekilmiştir. Deniliyorki; Esenyurt belediyesi HDP’ye hizmet vermiş. Verecek tabiki, görevi. Asıl biz belediyeden şikayetçiyiz. Gönderdiği ekip, görevi ve haddi olmadığı bir şekilde, gizli çekimler yapmış, sosyal medyada yayınlamıştır. https://t.co/AdmFpRdsHl— Erdal Avcı (@Erdal_Avci_) January 24, 2021
"On the other hand, our party is open for the public. Everyone can come in, have some tea and chat. The image that's being tried to be created is pointless. We use those pictures, banners and posters not only in our building, but also in our press statements," he said.
According to Avcı, the ruling alliance consisting of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are seeking ways to shut the HDP down.