Meral Akşener, the leader of the centre-right Good Party, on Monday invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to join her in cursing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Akşener, who established her party after leaving the Erdoğan-ally far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), since last week has been trying to counter the Turkish government’s accusations over the opposition’s links to the PKK.
The Turkish government’s tactics particularly affect Akşener and her party, which is a part of the Nation Alliance that nominated Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), as presidential candidate to rival Erdoğan.
The politician accused Erdoğan of shamelessly stating that her party is cooperating with the PKK, an organisation that Turkey views as terrorist.
“God damn whoever cooperates with the PKK,” Akşener said in a campaign speech in Nevşehir in Turkey’s mainly nationalist-conservative central Anatolia.
“I swear never the hand of a terrorist touches the hand of this woman,” Akşener said about herself, while blaming Erdoğan to be engaged with both the PKK and the Kurdish-Islamist group Hizbullah.
Referring to the PKK, Akşener asked, “Are you up to cursing together Erdoğan?”
Later in the day, Akşener joined a live interview on Habertürk television, once again rejecting the government’s efforts to implicate the opposition parties over affiliation with the PKK.
The politician said the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is not a part of the Nation Alliance, as formed by six opposition parties, despite the government’s attempts to portray it so.
Akşener said the HDP will not have a seat in the new cabinet, if the opposition wins the 14 May elections, referring to the HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar, who previously stated that his party was not engaged in such negotiations.
The government’s efforts incriminate all Kurdish citizens as members of the PKK, Akşener said, adding that all political parties seek the votes of all citizens of the country.
“We want the votes of all voters voting for all political parties. Inside the HDP there might be the votes of PKK supporters, but there are also those who do not want the PKK,” Akşener said.
Recalling her efforts against the PKK, Akşener called on Turkish authorities to arrest her if they have any evidence linking her to the Kurdish group.
The politician also joined debates on a suspected meeting between Turkish government officials and Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the PKK who has been kept in Turkey’s İmralı island prison since 1999.
“They have just sent someone to İmralı, asked for help,” Akşener said. “I know whom they sent,” she added.
Akşener said it was not proper for her to reveal the name of the person who had met Öcalan, adding that it is someone from the Turkish judiciary.
“He went there by changing his name,” Akşener continued, claiming that the negotiations failed as Öcalan demanded a written deal in exchange for his support to the Turkish government in upcoming elections.
Turkey’s political agenda has been occupied with claims over the suspected meeting between the PKK leader and the Turkish officials.
The meeting was first reported by Kurdish journalist Amed Dicle and was later confirmed by Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned former co-chair of the HDP, who cited his sources.
The claims about a possible meeting between the government and Öcalan raised suspicions about a potential government attempt to persuade the PKK leader to intervene in the direction of Kurdish votes in 14 May elections, as the Erdoğan government made a similar move in 2019 to win local elections in İstanbul.
Sırrı Süreyya Önder, a parliamentary candidate of the HDP, also joined the discussion about the suspected meeting.
“Meetings with Erdoğan never end. I mean it is one of the routine jobs of the state,” said Önder, who was a part of the HDP delegation that facilitated communication between the PKK leader and the government during a peace process launched in 2013. Önder, who was a HDP MP at the time, was later jailed after the collapse of peace talks.
“Those meetings sometimes intensify, sometimes become rare, but they never end. We have been a part of this process long enough to know this,” Önder said during an interview with Yeni Yaşam newspaper.
Önder reminded that Öcalan saw such meetings as non-binding chats, as long as the government approached him with a concrete agenda.
“If it is not an official meeting with an agenda, he approaches them as non-binding. In that regard I take those claims serious and see them as important,” the political said.