Turkey

Arrested HDP MPs behaving like terrorists: Erdogan

President blames arrested MPs of opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party of aiming to put Turkey into trouble internationally

06.11.2016
Arrested HDP MPs behaving like terrorists: Erdogan

Istanbul

By Cigdem Alyanak and Hatice Senses Kurukiz

ISTANBUL

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused arrested lawmakers of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of behaving like terrorists, saying they aim to put Turkey into trouble in the international scene.

Speaking at the opening of the academic year of a private university in Istanbul, Erdogan said the held deputies had insulted the government, nation and law by using their parliamentary immunities.

"If you [the HDP MPs] act like a terrorist instead of a lawmaker then you are treated like terrorists... I'm clear. I have no worries about these international attacks. Only the nation matters to me," he said.

He also criticized the West for their biases against Turkey following the reaction of some European countries to the detentions of the HDP co-chairs and other deputies Friday for failing to answer public prosecutors’ summons linked to a counter-terrorism probe.

"When does the West have a good dream about Turkey? Never." Erdogan said, adding: "So, what can Turkey expect from the West after having waited in front of the European Union's door for 53 years?"

The arrested lawmakers face prosecution under Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws after their parliamentary immunity was lifted earlier this year. Lawmakers from other parties had also been summoned before public prosecutors, but only HDP deputies refused to testify.

Among the charges HDP lawmakers face are alleged offenses of spreading terrorist propaganda in relation to comments made in October 2014, after Daesh terrorists entered the Syrian border town of Kobani, also known as Ayn Al-Arab. Back then, Selahattin Demirtas and other HDP figures had urged residents to take to the streets in Turkey. The ensuing week of violent demonstrations left dozens of people dead, including two police officers and saw hundreds of people injured.

Referring to the Gezi Park protests and the Dec. 17-25 corruption incidents from 2013 and the July 15 coup attempt this year, the president said Turkey had its own road to follow and had changed its point of views on certain subjects.

"We will do whatever we need to do in favor of our country and the nation without thinking: 'Who said what for us?'," Erdogan said.

He said Turkey had given 4,000 intelligence files on the PKK terrorists to Germany, adding he also reminded German Chancellor Angela Merkel about those files six months ago during their meeting in Istanbul.

"She told me that she remembers all the files. And I asked: ‘What happened to those files?’ She said they [the files had] increased to 4,500. And I asked ‘what would happen now?’ I told her that delaying justice was not justice at all.

"Europe recognizes the PKK as a terrorist group but acts as an accessory to them. It is really clear," he said, adding the PKK had so far killed 787 security personnel and 312 civilians as well as injuring over 4,000 security forces and more than 2,000 civilians since July 20, 2015.

"During the anti-PKK operations, over 5,500 arms, up to 650,000 bullets and 142 tons of explosive material and nearly 15,000 explosives were recovered. West! Hear this!" Erdogan added.

The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- resumed its decades-old armed campaign in July last year.

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