On Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Turkish Armed Forces’ past and recent human rights violations, as addressed by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP representing the Kurdish-majority southeastern Diyarbakir (Amed) province. Erdoğan declared that Tanrıkulu will face legal repercussions for his criticism of the TSK, which is “considered by some to be the world’s most honourable and courageous army.”
Tanrıkulu had previously cited specific European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) cases involving Turkey, including the disappearance of 11 villagers in Diyarbakir (Amed) and the bombing of villages in Şırnak (Şirnex), which resulted in 33 deaths. “These are not my judgements; they are ECHR decisions,” he clarified.
The CHP has distanced itself from Tanrıkulu, with spokesman Faik Öztrak stating that his comments are ”unacceptable”. The Defence Ministry also labelled the statements as ”slander”. President Erdoğan accused Tanrıkulu of being unpatriotic and alleged affiliations with organisations he deems as terrorist, such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)—the latter being a political party that is represented in the Turkish parliament, having received 8.8% of the vote and entering parliament with 61 MPs.
Tanrıkulu remains unyielding despite the mounting pressure. “I am not one of those who bend the truth according to the conditions of the time or keep silent when faced with difficulties,” he stated. He has also received support from the Diyarbakır Bar Association and other political figures like the Green Left MP Sırrı Süreyya Önder. “He has stood by the oppressed for years. He is our brother,” Önder added.
The Justice Ministry confirmed that an investigation is underway. Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç stated that the investigation’s outcome will be determined by Parliament. “The next steps are up to Parliament,” he explained.