In his first remarks on the arrest of nine politicians from Turkey’s second largest opposition party, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the goal of the HDP is to create trouble for Turkey in the international arena while he accused the party’s deputies of acting imprudently .
Turkish courts on Friday arrested nine HDP deputies including the party’s Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who were detained in the early hours of Friday following police raids on their homes. The HDP deputies were arrested after they refused to testify about alleged crimes linked to “terrorist propaganda.”
“The goal of those imprudent [HDP deputies], who defy and even insult the Parliament, the state, the nation and the judiciary over the immunity issue, is to put Turkey into a difficult situation in the international arena,” Erdoğan said as he spoke at Sağlık Bilimleri University in İstanbul on Sunday.
After the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s lifting of parliamentary immunity in June, mainly applicable to HDP deputies in practice, President Erdoğan made clear that the new law would be used to prosecute HDP deputies on “terrorism” charges rather than lawmakers linked to corruption.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) extended their support to the AKP to abolish the parliamentary immunity of deputies facing potential prosecution. The HDP opposed the move, and the party’s deputies have refused to testify to prosecutors over alleged terrorism charges.
In his speech, Erdoğan said he does not have the slightest fear or concern over what he called international “attacks” concerning the arrest of the HDP deputies.
Turkey has attracted widespread criticism from the EU and the US due to the arrest of the HDP deputies. Some EU officials have even begun to suggest suspension of Turkey’s membership talks with the EU.
“What matters to me is my nation. … What will we expect from the West, which has made us wait at the EU’s door for 52 years? We will take care of our own business. We will work, and believe me, we will leave them behind us,” Erdoğan said.