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News > World

Pro-Kurdish Leader Faces Probe for Insulting 'Turkishness'

  • Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of HDP party, greets supporters during in Istanbul, with an image of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan watching over him.

    Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of HDP party, greets supporters during in Istanbul, with an image of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan watching over him. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 September 2015

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party HDP is facing possible investigation for inciting violence.

The co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party or HDP in Turkey, Selahattin Demirtas, is facing possible investigation for insulting the president, the state, inciting crime and spreading terror propaganda in a speech made Wednesday.

Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office submitted a petition to the Turkish justice ministry Wednesday just hours after Demirtas concluded his speech. The petition demands that the Kurdish leader be stripped from his parliamentary immunity to build a criminal case against him for “insulting” the nation and the republic's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

However, Demirtas's supporters say the speech did not incite violence or insult the president. The head of the HDP exercised his power as a member of the Turkish parliament to call on both the government and the Kurdistan's Worker's Party (PKK) to stop hostilities and return to the negotiations table.

He added that his party, which won more than 50 seats in the country's June parliamentary election, was not a part of any decisions in the recent conflict between the PKK and the Turkish army.

RELATED: A History of the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict

Demirtas said that President Erdogan and his Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu were the main decision-makers who initiated the airstrikes against the PKK, further suspending two years of peace talks.

The Kurdish leader also said that the Nov. 1 snap elections would be “impossible” in the current hostile environment.

"It is becoming impossible to hold an election given the security situation in the region," Demirtas told a news conference in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir. "We want an election to be held and we are not saying an election can't be held, but we want the conditions in the region to be improved for an election."

RELATED: Pro-Kurd Party Wins Broad Appeal in Turkish Elections Through Progressive Policies

Demirtas’ call for restraint comes a day after his party's headquarters in the capital Ankara were attacked by angry protesters and suspected supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which was founded by Erdogan in 2001.

HDP lawmaker Pervin Buldan accused Erdogan of using inflammatory language to stir up tensions and led to the attacks on her party's building. "These are all decisions aimed at taking the country to elections in a ring of fire," she told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

Since Turkey launched its attack on the Kurdish PKK in July, dozens of Turkish soldiers have been killed and hundreds of PKK fighters were killed as part of airstrikes on the group's bases in southern Turkey and northern Iraq.

RELATED: teleSUR’s Imaginary Lines – Turkey Goes After the PKK

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