Pro-Kurdish HDP’s co-chairs under investigation for ‘terror propaganda’

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation against the co-chairs of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) over charges of conducting terror propaganda, left-wing Gerçek Gündem news site reported on Saturday.

Sezai Temelli and Pervin Buldan are accused of making "terror propaganda’’ during speeches they delivered at HDP’s annual provincial congress in Istanbul on Sunday, it said.

Buldan during’s Sunday’s HDP congress held in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece district accused the Turkish government of wanting to create a world free of Kurds. 

“They want to destroy every Kurd there is. Just like the isolation they are subjecting Mr. Abdullah Öcalan to. They are trying to do the same thing in Rojava. But they should know that they have not succeeded, nor will they,’’ Buldan said.

The investigation arrives as part of an ongoing crackdown on the pro-Kurdish party with 16 HDP mayors being dismissed and replaced with a government appointee since the local elections in March.

Temelli during Sunday’s congress accused the Turkish government of orchestrating ''a coup on the will of the people,’’ with the ouster of Kurdish mayors.

Ankara accuses the HDP of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interest of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for over 30 years.

Ankara has intensified a crackdown on the Kurdish political movement since peace talks the PKK broke down in 2015. HDP lawmakers and mayors have frequently been dismissed from their roles or faced legal charges for alleged PKK links in the years since. The party’s former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ were arrested on terror charges in 2016.