A high ranking police chief from Ankara police department threatened violence against elected Kurdish MP Ayşe Acar Başaran on Thursday as tensions rose following a demonstration in front of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters.
“I will nail you to the wall,” the police chief shouted at Başaran as the MP objected to the heavy police presence around the building.
Police units had surrounded the HDP headquarters in the Turkish capital Ankara during the morning, accompanying a small group of alleged provocateurs holding Turkish flags who claimed their children had been abducted to join the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The three family members read a press statement in front of the building and left after placing flowers by the headquarters, Mezopotamya Agency reported, while the police units remained. Meanwhile, another apparent civilian group gathered to continue the protest against HDP outside the building.
The police removed journalists from the area when Başaran went outside to make a statement on the street.
HDP members and deputies were briefly prevented from going outside.
“Today, the police, the Interior Ministry came to our party for a provocation,” Başaran told reporters. “There is a memorial wreath, and the police have taken it on themselves to protect it, and to attack us over it.”
The deputy stepped onto the street to speak to the press, but was told by the police to step away as she was “blocking the street”.
“I am exercising my democratic right. The street was not blocked when they were speaking,” Başaran said.
“Interior Minister and his provocateurs, we will not lose to you,” Başaran said.
“Did you answer for my father’s blood? Shut up!” the police chief shouted at Başaran as the MP returned to the building.
“By God, I will nail you to the wall,” the police chief continued to shout, saying he was “a martyr’s son”.
“You go ask about my father’s murderer,” the deputy shouted back. Başaran’s father was one of thousands of civilian Kurds who lost their lives in extrajudicial killings during the 1990s, at the height of Turkey’s conflict with the PKK.
“Who put this person on duty and sent him to our party’s headquarters?” asked HDP Deputy Parliamentary Chairwoman Meral Danış Beştaş in a tweet.
HDP Deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu tweeted that the commissioner was with the Ankara police, where he said accusations of torture had been swept under the rug by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Parliamentary Speaker Mustafa Şentop.
“We are facing an attempt at provocation against our party,” HDP Spokeswoman Ebru Günay told reporters after the incident. “The police, ordered by the Criminal Affairs Ministry, has threatened our deputy, with mafia leaders’ support behind them.”
Günay called for the police chief’s immediate dismissal and arrest.
“Whenever we get stronger, whenever the HDP offers hope to the peoples of Turkey, AKP and MHP fascism come together and put forth provocations against our party by the hands of dark gangs who call themselves the police. But, with our strength coming from our past and our revolutionary legacy, we have never given up, and we never will,” she said.
“Today is the day to defend the HDP,” Günay said, calling on all democratic forces in the country. “We are at a crossroads. Either these dark gangs will take over the country, or we will bring peace and democracy to Turkey.”