Turkey launches terrorism probe against Kurdish opposition leader
A day after being elected as the leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Pervin Buldan has been put under investigation for "terrorist propaganda."
The Turkish government alleges that the HDP, which remains legal, has links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group. The HDP claims that it is independent.
The state prosecutor in Ankara is now investigating Buldan and fellow HDP politician Sirri Sureyya Onder in relation to speeches that were given at their party congress on Sunday, the state news agency Anadolu reported.
A HDP spokeswoman confirmed the investigation to members of the press.
In a call for peace, Buldan and Onder strongly criticised the Turkish military operation against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin in north-western Syria. They said that civilians are dying in the operation – a claim which the Turkish government denies.
Buldan also spoke out in favour of resuming peace talks with the PKK, which is closely linked to the YPG.
Anadolu reported that the state prosecutor's office has also launched investigations on charges of "inciting grudges and enmity in the public." There are said to have been posters of the detained PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan shown at the congress.
Buldan denied this and said Turkish security forces planted the anti-war posters before the congress.
Seven HDP members of parliament have been stripped of their seats in the past year and a number remain behind bars. Thousands of party members have been arrested. At least 47 high ranking officials have been detained since the Afrin operation started. (dpa)