A parliamentary candidate from the opposition Green Left Party (YSP) has been arrested on terrorism-related charges after being targeted by Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.
YSP candidate Ayten Dönmez was detained in İstanbul earlier on Wednesday over alleged involvement in the activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s southeast since 1984 and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community. She was arrested later in the same day after appearing in court.
During her interrogation at the police station and the prosecutor’s office, Dönmez was shown a photo that shows her wearing reportedly PKK clothing with another alleged PKK member. She is accused of having joined the PKK and then returning to run for a seat in parliament. Dönmez denied the accusations, saying she is married and the mother of two children, unlike PKK militants who do not get married and have families. The court, however, ruled for her arrest.
Dönmez’s arrest came shortly after she was targeted by Interior Minister Soylu during a recent live program on 24 TV, claiming that there was “a terrorist from the mountains” on the candidate lists of the YSP, referring to Dönmez.
“She has worn the clothes of the PKK, and footage of her in the mountains is soon to be revealed,” Soylu said.
The YSP has been facing pressure since the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) announced in late March that it would run in the parliamentary elections slated for May 14 under its banner so as to circumvent the risks that could emerge from its possible closure ahead of the elections.
The HDP is facing a closure case on terrorism charges that was filed in March 2021 and could be concluded before the elections since the Constitutional Court, which is hearing the case, has rejected the HDP’s request to delay the verdict until after the elections.
Both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), frequently accuse the HDP, the second-largest opposition group in parliament, of ties to the outlawed PKK, a claim the party denies.
Erdoğan’s accusations about the HDP and other opposition parties’ alleged links to the PKK have increased since the HDP announced its tacit support for Erdoğan’s rival, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Turkey’s main opposition leader and the joint candidate of an opposition bloc of six parties.