SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Turkish authorities are investigating a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker over suspected links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), prosecutors said on Sunday.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told broadcaster A Haber on Saturday that the HDP’s Dirayet Dilan Tasdemir had visited Gara region, where the Turkish military found bodies of 13 Turks during an operation against the PKK.
The region is located 50 kilometers northeast of Duhok.
The HDP has come under renewed pressure this week after the government said that fighters from the PKK had executed 13 Turkish captives in Iraq’s Gara region, including military and police personnel. The PKK said the captives had died during clashes in the area.
Prosecutors in Ankara said on Sunday that Soylu’s comments were considered a notice and that an investigation had been launched into Tasdemir’s links to the PKK, according to Reuters.
The HDP lawmaker denied Soylu’s comments.
“This country’s interior minister made a statement giving my name based on the so-called accounts of one person. We will prove that this is a giant lie and slander,” she said in a tweet on Saturday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his ruling AK Party and their ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) accuse the HDP of links to the PKK, which the HDP denies.
Many prominent HDP members have been investigated, tried and jailed over terrorism charges. Selahattin Demirtas, the party’s former leader and one of Turkey’s most prominent politicians, has been in jail for more than four years.
The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, launched its armed insurgency in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
In the last two years Turkey’s fight against the PKK has increasingly focused on the Kurdistan Region, where the group has its stronghold in the Qandil mountains on the Iranian border.