ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Deputy leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Sezgin Tanrikulu has over the last two weeks came under increasing pressure over his continued criticism of the killing of a Kurdish civilian by a Turkish army drone late last month.
On Monday, the government spokesperson and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag labeled Tanrikulu as "disrespectful, tactless and insulting" toward the Turkish authorities.
Bozdag called on the CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to launch an intra-party disciplinary investigation against Tanrikulu in remarks similar to those by the Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.
Kilicdaroglu over the weekend defended his Kurdish deputy, calling for the enlightenment of the public about the deadly drone assault that took place in the Talone (Ogul) village of Hakkari bordering the Kurdistan Region on August 31.
A long-time human rights lawyer, Tanrikulu came under fire by Soylu and pro-government media for his following up with the drone killing of the civilian Mehmet Temel and wounding of three others in the Kurdish province of Hakkari two weeks ago.
President Erdogan on Friday slammed the opposition MP, claiming those bombed were "only terrorist" members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has been waging a decades-long guerrilla warfare against Turkish troops for larger Kurdish rights.
Along the slain Temel, victims of the aerial attack by the Turkish-made SIHA Bayraktar UAV were Ismail Aydin, Musa Tarhan, and Ibrahim Sak who were wounded, the former being in a critical condition.
On his official Twitter page, Tanrikulu revealed that he has received thousands of death threats on social media and over the phone because of his Kurdish identity and defense of Kurdish civilian lives.
An Ankara prosecutor's office launched a probe the same day Erdogan spoke, targeting Tanrikulu over his tweets and remarks which it said were "insulting to the Turkish state."
Tanrikulu has said the President, the ministers, and pro-government media were threatening him.
Newspapers, TV stations and websites close to the government, including Yenisafak, Yeni Akit, Star, AHaber among others have accused Tanrikulu of allying with the PKK as well as being an asset for the CIA and American private intelligence platform Stratfor.
A deputy leader of Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, Hamza Dag, on Monday, filed a criminal complaint against Tanrikulu on the grounds he was siding with the PKK.
Authorities have given conflicting statements regarding the attack first reported by pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
Interior Ministry claimed that the army had killed four "terrorists" in an operation while the Ankara-appointed Hakkari governor's office acknowledged the drone strike had targeted a group of civilians.
However, the governorate, as well as Minister Soylu, labeled the civilians as "collaborators," accusing them of working with PKK without further elaboration.
Last week the Defense Ministry put out a statement alleging those critical of the last week's deadly attack were "supporters of the terror group" and denied any civilian casualties.
Editing by Ava Homa