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Interior Ministry files complaints against CHP, HDP deputies over Külter case

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Turkey’s Interior Ministry has filed criminal complaints against three opposition party deputies and a lawyer over a controversy concerning the whereabouts of pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Şırnak provincial chairman Hurşit Külter.

Külter, who went missing on May 27, appeared in Iraq’s Kirkuk province on Oct.7, ending 133 days of uncertainty over his whereabouts.

The ministry filed criminal complaints against pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, HDP deputy İdris Baluken and Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu as well as Külter’s lawyer Mesut Gerez.

The ministry accused these figures of fabricating a crime, attempting to influence a fair trial, fomenting hatred and enmity among the public and insulting the Turkish Republic due to their accusatory remarks concerning the disappearance of Külter.

Witnesses claimed Külter was detained by police as the Week of Missing People was being observed between May 17 and 31.

Delivering a press statement in Kirkuk on Oct. 7, Külter said he was kept in the basement of a building for 13 days following his detention and was subjected to torture. But, he added, he managed to escape and make his way to Kirkuk in two months.

He apologized to everyone who made efforts to end the uncertainty over his whereabouts and for appearing in public so belatedly to make such a statement.

Human rights organizations have exerted efforts to pursue the search for Külter. Dozens of petitions were filed with the Ministry of Interior by a group of attorneys and civil rights groups; however, only one of the petitions was responded to by the Ministry of Interior, which said the issue did not fall within its purview.

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