Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused one of the co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish HDP Party of “provocation and treason.” Selahattin Demirtas has called for autonomous regions for Kurds in the east and south-east of the country. Prosecutors have opened an investigation into his comments.
The PKK Kurdistan Workers’ Party — deemed a terrorist organisation in Turkey, the EU and the US — is also calling for self-rule. Erdogan announced the boosting of operations against the party, which has branches in neighbouring Syria.
“The latest developments in Syria are feeding the appetite of the terrorist organisation PKK against our national unity,” he said.
Erdogan said Ankara would not allow terrorism to prevail, adding that more than 3,000 terrorists had been “eliminated both in and out” of Turkey’s borders.
He urged against backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, highlighting the frosty relations between Turkey and Russia — a country allied with Assad.
Ties were cut between those two countries in November when Turkish armed forces shot down a Russian plane it said was flying over its air space.
Demirtas made his comments on autonomy following a visit to Moscow, which he said was unrelated to the tense political situation.