Erdogan slams HDP leader for Suruc bombing claims

Erdogan calls Demirtas' comments on bombing that killed 32 'vulgar,' says 'presidency a very high position and should not to be dishonored like this.'

Erdogan slams HDP leader for Suruc bombing claims


Turkey's president has slammed the co-leader of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) for his claims about a bombing in Turkey's southeast last week that claimed 32 lives.

"These statements are vulgar. I want to express that the presidency is a very high position and should not to be dishonored like this," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters at a Turkey-China business forum during a state visit to Beijing on Thursday.

On July 28, Selahattin Demirtas blamed Erdogan for the suicide bomb attack in Suruc that targeted a leftist youth organization.

The group had gathered July 20 in the town near the Syrian border for a campaign to rebuild Kobani, a Syrian town liberated from Daesh by Syrian Kurdish forces.

The attack - which was subsequently blamed on Daesh - killed 32 people. 

"He needs to know his position," Erdogan said. "To voice imputations like this, to a president that only has worked for his country's peace and prosperity, is just an attempt to remove the black clouds above him."

Erdogan told reporters that he held Demirtas responsible for the Oct. 2014 Kobani protests, which saw Pro-Kurdish demonstrators take to the streets across Turkey claiming the government was doing nothing to halt the advance of extremists pouring into the Turkish-Syrian border town of Kobani.

A total of 50 people were killed.

Erdogan also underlined what he considered to be Demirtas' failure to label the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) a "terrorist group" -- unlike the United States and the European Union, who recognize it as such.

Demirtas claimed during a July 28 party group meeting that Erdogan "blocked the disarmament of PKK" -- a move considered invaluable to the 2013 "solution process" initiative by the AK Party government.

The process aimed to end a decades-old conflict with the PKK, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.

On Thursday, Erdogan vehemently disagreed with the claim.

"He [Demirtas], unfortunately, brought the solution process to the point we are at today," Erdogan said, accusing the HDP co-leader of "using his right to parliamentary immunity to shame the process."

Demirtas' big brother, Nurettin Demirtas, "had been raised in the mountains," said the president, adding "Demirtas would [also] go to the mountains [to join him] if he gets the chance."

The term "going to the mountains" is often used in Turkish politics to refer to joining PKK forces.

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