Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday that Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and others who are currently in jail will never get out of prison.
Erdoğan targeted Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), during a speech in the southwestern province of Muğla.
Erdoğan accused Kılıçdaroğlu, who is one of the possible names that will rival the president in the upcoming elections, of supporting terrorists and trying to get them out of prison.
“Do not try in vain, they will not let those terrorists out of there. But this man is already promising this. Did Demirtaş not cause the death of 51 people in Diyarbakır? And this man [Kılıçdaroğlu] now says he will get them out of there [prison],” Erdoğan said.
As the elections approach, Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been continuously accusing the CHP of implicitly cooperating with the HDP, which it says is linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Demirtaş has been in jail since 2016, along with 108 people who were tried over the nationwide protests in 2014 that were triggered by the Islamic State’s invasion of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane.
According to a parliamentary question submitted by the HDP in 2020, 43 people were killed during the protests and no investigation has been launched to identify the actual killers. Meanwhile, the indictment prepared by the prosecutors for what is known as the Kobane trial puts the death toll at 37.