Accessibility links

Turkey Puts Pressure on Pro-Kurdish Party

  • Dorian Jones

FILE - Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party leader Selahattin Demirtas is seen speaking during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, July 21, 2015.

FILE - Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party leader Selahattin Demirtas is seen speaking during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, July 21, 2015.

In Turkey, pressure is building on the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, the HDP. Authorities are asking for the immunity of party leader Selahattin Demirtas to be lifted as he faces charges ranging from aiding terrorism to insulting the president.

The government also is blocking Demirtas and a group of pro-Kurdish lawmakers from entering the southeastern town of Cizre, where the military is fighting pro-Kurdish rebels and a curfew is in effect.

The Turkish interior minister said a week-old curfew in Cizre will remain in place because of fighting between the military and Kurdish rebel group the PKK.

Security unravels

The development comes amid concerns about the town's health and security situation, with reports that families cannot bury their dead, including children.

The deteriorating situation also calls into question the validity of the snap general election scheduled for November 1, according to political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Istanbul’s Suleyman Sah University.

"It will be very difficult under these circumstances, and HDP will totally be unable to participate in the election campaign and without HDP it will mean more and more chaos," said Aktar.

Turkish nationalists on Tuesday attacked more than 100 offices of the HDP in protests across the country.

Growing isolation

Additionally, the HDP faces isolation, with all of the country’s mainstream political parties urging it to unequivocally distance itself from the PKK.

Political columnist Semih Idiz of Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper, said the HDP is being driven back to its ethnic base.

"We have these attacks against HDP offices; they are being demonized across the country," said Idiz.

In the June general election, the HDP reached out beyond its traditional base in the predominantly Kurdish southeast to voters in the country's west. That helped it become the first pro-Kurdish party to be elected to parliament, a success that cost the AK party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan its parliamentary majority.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG