Turkish police detain pro-Kurdish lawmaker over alleged ties with PKK

SULAIMANI (ESTA) —  A Kurdish lawmaker was detained by police in Turkey allegedly having ties with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK),  the Interior Ministry said on Friday, months after her parliamentary immunity had been lifted.

Lawmaker for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Semra Guzel has been detained in Istanbul while onboard a vehicle with two other people, using fake identification, one who had a previous record of smuggling migrants and forgery and another who had a record for terrorism propaganda, according to the ministry.

The car was headed in the direction of Turkey’s Edirne province, which borders Greece and Bulgaria, the ministry said.

Guzel lost her immunity after Turkey’s parliament voted for, months before her detention, in March, over a photo of her taken with a militant from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and an arrest warrant was issued for her on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

The HDP did not immediately comment.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK party with its nationalist allies allege the HDP of being a political offshoot of the PKK.

HDP is the third largest party in Turkey’s parliament, thousands of HDP members have been detained and their offices across Turkey faced closure by the Turkish authorities in recent years over similar allegations, but the party denies any links to terrorism.

According to the critics, Turkish courts bend to Erdogan’s and his AK party’s will after his two decades of increasingly authoritarian rule. The government refuses these claims and says the judiciary is independent.

The PKK launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict. It is regarded as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

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