Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has criticized the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) after statements from its leaders apparently support calls for regional autonomy.
“I will never talk with anyone who brings Turkey’s unity and integrity to the table,” Davutoglu said on Monday, speaking just before flying to Belgrade for an official visit to Serbia.
Davutoglu’s criticism was sparked by a speech made by HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas on Sunday.
Demirtas, speaking to an umbrella group called the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) in Diyarbakir, said his party would support calls for regional autonomy in the southeast.
Moreover, Demirtas apparently defended PKK efforts to set up trenches and barricades in southeastern Turkish cities.
Earlier this week, Diyarbakir’s chief public prosecutor launched a legal probe into similar remarks made earlier by the HDP leader.
The DTK has organized a two-day meeting in Diyarbakir to raise the issue of local autonomy by publishing a 14-point declaration.
Davutoglu said that he will meet with everyone to establish Turkey’s future peacefully except those who are against the country’s unity.
The Turkish premier also said that HDP voters should be aware that it is not “a truthful political party”, claiming that its “disguised intentions” have been revealed.
Turkey’s Prime Ministry made a statement on Saturday that Davutoglu had cancelled a planned meeting with the HDP over comments made by Demirtas during a recent visit to Moscow.
Demirtas has faced criticism for describing the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkish jets on Nov. 24 as “a mistake” – a comment labeled by Davutoglu as a “complete disgrace and a complete betrayal”.
Counter-terrorism operations have been continuing in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir, Sirnak and Mardin with curfews declared to fight the terrorists nested in residential areas.
A total of 180 PKK terrorists have been killed in operations in southeastern Turkey since Dec. 15, the Turkish General Staff announced on Friday.