Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a member of the Turkish parliament for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) from Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern Diyarbakir (Amed) province, continues to stand by his criticisms of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), despite an ongoing investigation by the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office and disapproval from his own party. Tanrıkulu’s comments, made during a television interview, are substantiated by rulings from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Tanrıkulu cited specific ECHR cases involving Turkey, including the disappearance of 11 villagers in Diyarbakir (Amed) and the bombing of villages in another southeastern Kurdish-majority city, Şırnak (Şirnex), which resulted in the deaths of 33 villagers. “These are not my judgements; they are ECHR decisions,” he validated.
The CHP has distanced itself from Tanrıkulu, with spokesman Faik Öztrak declaring his comments ‘unacceptable’. The Defence Ministry has also denounced the allegations as ‘slander’.
Despite facing an ongoing investigation and a lack of support from his own party, the CHP, Tanrıkulu remains steadfast. ”The fact that the AKP [Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party] are claiming ownership of these grave violations against Kurds, confirmed by ECHR decisions to be crimes against humanity, is a further admission that the AKP is the new master of the deep state,” he said.
The AKP initially came to power with promises of democratic reforms and combating the ‘deep state’, a term in Turkey referring to covert alliances within the political system and military. However, after two decades in power, the AKP now appears to have assumed the role it once vowed to dismantle, particularly concerning its stance on long-standing issues related to the Kurdish population. This shift has blurred the lines between the AKP and the CHP, especially on the Kurdish issue, with the latter increasingly adopting positions reminiscent of a ruling party.