HDP, CHP criticize Erdoğan’s claim that Demirtaş is a terrorist

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attends a final press conference on the second day of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Republican People’s Party (CHP) have criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said he perceived HDP Co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş to be a terrorist.

The HDP released a statement on Saturday condemning Erdoğan’s remarks, which came during a press conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg.

“We condemn and protest this statement by Erdoğan in the strongest manner possible. History will tell who the terrorist is. We would like to share with the public our determination to hold the AKP [Justice and Development Party] chairperson accountable for his abovementioned arrogant words – in both the political sphere and in the field of international law,” said the statement.

The HDP also criticized Erdoğan’s interference in judicial decisions, accusing him of influencing verdicts and making contradictory statements about the rule of law in Turkey.

“With his statement Erdoğan has clearly intervened in the proceedings and the judiciary, and he is, in effect, dictating the verdict. At the same time he is openly threatening the Constitutional Court of Turkey. In addition to all this, for Erdoğan to say, precisely one sentence before calling Demirtaş a terrorist, ‘Turkey is a country under the rule of law,’ and then, a minute later, for him to say, ‘The judiciary is independent,’ is frankly quite noteworthy: He is lying in both cases. It is in no way acceptable for a president to give speeches in this tone,” said the HDP statement.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized Erdoğan for his accusations against Demirtaş and said Erdoğan was labelling everyone as a terrorist and considering himself to be the judiciary.

“Politicians, businessman and tradesman do not decide who is guilty and who is not. The judiciary gives the decision. But Erdoğan puts himself in the place of the judiciary and calls everyone a terrorist. And the judge makes a decision to arrest accordingly. Saying that ‘serious convictions will happen,’ he means ‘I can ensure any punishment to whomever I want.’ He is intimidating all segments of society,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

“Turkey is a state of law. The person you mentioned [Selahattin Demirtaş] is a terrorist. He is such a terrorist that he made all my Kurdish brothers take to the streets and then got these 53 Kurdish brothers murdered by some other Kurds. This is only one of the crimes he committed. There are many other similar ones,” Erdoğan said during a press conference after the G20 summit in Hamburg on Saturday.

Erdoğan’s statement refers to the “2014 Kobanî protests,” large-scale protests by Kurds in Turkey as a spillover of a crisis in Syrian town of Kobanî.

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