Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Şanlıurfa deputy and spokesperson Osman Baydemir has asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to apologize to HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş for calling him a “terrorist.”
Baydemir’s statement came during a daily press meeting on the fourth day of a “Conscience and Justice Watch” launched by the HDP in Diyarbakır on July 25 in protest of arrested HDP deputies.
Criticizing Erdoğan for remarks made about Demirtaş during the G-20 meeting in Germany, Baydemir said: “Stand up while there is still time and publicly apologize to Selahattin Demirtaş. Apologize because of your lie.”
Baydemir brought to mind remarks made by Demirtaş, who asked Erdoğan to present evidence if he was telling the truth and accused Erdoğan of lying and smearing him.
Referring to the approval of a series of changes to the parliamentary bylaws, which are criticized for aiming to curtail opposition, and removal of the parliamentary status of two HDP deputies for prolonged absence from Parliament, Baydemir said: “The most horrible horror movie of fascism is being shot. We are keeping a ‘Conscience and Justice Watch’ here so that fascism will not turn this horror movie into a nightmare.”
HDP deputies launched a series of protests on Tuesday that will continue until Nov. 4, the anniversary of the imprisonment of Demirtaş along with eight other party deputies.
The HDP is expected to hold its group meetings in different provinces, where protests will be staged for a week at a time, rather than in the Turkish Parliament, to draw attention to the situation of the imprisoned deputies.
Demirtaş, along with HDP Co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and seven other HDP politicians, was detained on Nov. 4, 2016 and ultimately arrested on charges of terrorism.
There are currently 11 HDP deputies behind bars in Turkey after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government stepped up a crackdown on Kurdish politicians last fall. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges.
The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.