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AKP gives cold shoulder to far-right ally’s call to shut down Kurdish party

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A top Justice and Development Party (AKP) official has reacted negatively to a recent call by its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), for the closure of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on allegations of terrorism, saying party closures have never yielded positive results.

In remarks televised by NTV on Tuesday, AKP Deputy Chairman Numan Kurtulmuş said the AKP government has been calling on the HDP to distance itself from terrorism, namely the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), saying the party has seized important opportunities to become a party of Turkey but has failed to recognize the PKK as a terrorist organization.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has waged an insurgency against the state since the 1980s that has killed more than 40,000 people.

Kurtulmuş, however, said party closures in the past have not brought any positive results in Turkey.

In a tweet on Friday MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli called on the AKP government to shut down the HDP, saying: “Turkish politics no longer has the capacity to tolerate the HDP. This hotbed of terrorism and separatism must be shut down.”

The MHP and the AKP accuse the HDP, the newest party of the Kurdish political movement since its predecessors were shut down due to alleged terror links, of having ties to the PKK.

Although the HDP denies such a connection, the accusations have led to the prosecution of thousands of its members and some of its leaders, with the pro-Kurdish party currently holding only six of the 65 municipalities it won in last year’s elections due to the government replacement of HDP mayors who face terror charges with trustees.

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