The Turkish president targeted both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in his speech at the regular parliamentary group meeting on Wednesday.
Erdoğan claimed that the HDP deputies were waiting for orders from fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as he made a reference to an indictment against an HDP deputy, Semra Güzel, who is accused of being a member of an illegal organisation based on a picture taken in 2014.
“The party driven by the PKK and who is also a part of the opposition alliance led by the Republican People’s Party waits for approval from the armed lovers of its deputies in order to determine what it’s going to do,” he said.
At this point Erdoğan paused and said, “Let’s now refresh our memories a bit”, as a text reading ‘The dirty partner of the People’s Alliance: HDP-PKK’ appeared on the large screen.
The photos showing HDP’s Diyarbakır deputy Semra Güzel with her fiancée, a PKK fighter, followed.
Then came a photograph showing main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş shaking hands; and then Kılıçdaroğlu appeared saying, ‘We can consider HDP a legitimate organisation. It’s very important that they are in the parliament.’
As the video ended and Erdoğan returned to his speech, he this time suddenly made striking remarks that wouldn’t be easy to fathom.
He started making speculations about Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been incarcerated in Edirne Prison for more than five years and imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who’s been kept in severe isolation since 1999.
“The man who is now in Edirne will have to explain himself first to the person in İmralı. Some think everything’s just fine. It’s not. They have internal struggles. Just like Mr. Kemal whose leash is now in the hands of armed terrorists,” he said.
The former co-chair of HDP, Sezai Temelli, commented on these remarks a short time later on Artı TV:
“We have been expecting to be subjected to such attacks like this. We’re aware of this,” he said. “We should be prepared not only for attacks by state forces but also for ideological and intellectual attacks. He has demonstrated this today in the form of a psychological warfare tactic.”