Pro-Kurdish party sues Erdogan for calling Demirtas 'terrorist'

"We filed a complaint to let [Erdogan] know his limits. We will also follow this case at an international level."

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) filed a criminal complaint Monday against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his remarks calling the party’s imprisoned co-chair Selahattin Demirtas a “terrorist.”

The HDP’s Spokesperson Osman Baydemir told reporters at a press conference at his party’s headquarters in Ankara that Erdogan’s words were a “threat” to the Turkish judiciary.

“Saying that judiciary is independent in Turkey is a statement most out of touch with reality,” said Baydemir.

Erdogan labeled Demirtas a “terrorist” over the weekend when a journalist asked whether the HDP leader and other jailed Kurdish lawmakers would be released during a G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg.

“I do not have the authority to release terrorists from prison,” Erdogan said before proceeding to state he would welcome any decision judicial authorities make.

Baydemir, who represents the Sanliurfa Province at the Turkish Parliament, refused to call Erdogan “President,” saying he was only the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“We filed a complaint to let [Erdogan] know his limits. We will also follow this case at an international level. This case will be evidence that [in Turkey] judiciary acts on threats,” Baydemir added.

A copy of the complaint at the HDP website described Erdogan’s statements as “hostile,” given Demirtas was still in numerous trials.

Demirtas rose to prominence during June 2015 elections with his success of garnering 13 percent of votes for the HDP.

The pro-Kurdish party’s winning 80 seats in the Parliament effectively denied Erdogan’s ruling AKP a super majority required to form a one-party government.

Police detained Demirtas and a dozen other Kurdish lawmakers in midnight house raids in November 2016.

The Kurdish leader has previously said he was a “hostage” because of his stance against what he described as Erdogan’s plans of forging “a one-man rule” in Turkey.

Erdogan views the HDP as the political front for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that is waging a decades-long guerrilla warfare against Turkish troops over government repression of Kurdish rights.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany