ERBIL, Kurdistan Region–In the latest row between Ankara and the Kurds of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for the lifting of immunities from Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) leaders to start criminal investigations against them.
Erdogan slammed the co-chair of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas on Sunday for advocating greater autonomy for Turkey’s Kurdish regions.
“The statements of the HDP leaders are constitutional crimes. There are investigations started by prosecutors against them. These should be followed up,” Erdogan told reporters on Saturday according to Hurriyet Daily News.
“I believe the process that will start with the removal of immunities will have a positive impact on the mood of our country in fighting terrorism,” he added.
In response the HDP co-chair Figen Yuksekdag said, “bring it on.”
Given the fact that HDP politicians are members of Turkey’s parliament they are entitled to immunity from such investigations.
Erdogan however has sought to lift that immunity for the HDP under the pretext that they are linked with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and have violated the constitution by openly advocating autonomy on behalf of Turkey’s Kurdish minority.
“They should pay a price for it,” the president declared, “I believe that the lifting of immunity of those against who the cases have been initiated will help the atmosphere in our country in the fight against terrorism in a positive way. We cannot accept statements calling for the country to be broken up. We will never agree to a state within a state.”