The video which made its way into the Turkish media on Saturday showed terrorists and nine BDP deputies led by the party’s co-chairwoman Gülten Kışanak chatting and hugging each other along a highway in the Şemdinli district of the southeastern province of Hakkari. The BDP says the “encounter” was not planned beforehand.
The Van Public Prosecutor’s Office announced on Saturday that an investigation had been launched into the video in accordance with Turley’s Counterterrorism Law (TMK).
The office said the meeting appears to be a pre-scheduled one in contrary to BDP’s claims that it happened spontaneously when the terrorists blocked a road along their route.
The BDP deputies in the group were Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Sebahat Tuncel, Esat Canan, Adil Kurt, Nazmi Gür, Halil Aksu and Hüsamettin Zenderlioğlu as well as independent deputy Aysel Tuğluk, who was elected to Parliament with the support of the BDP.
Van prosecutors also ordered the Şemdinli Prosecutor’s Office to launch an investigation to capture the terrorists who met and chatted with the deputies for nearly half an hour.
Tuğluk defended the meeting on Saturday which she said was an “encounter.” “We encountered a very normal situation. It is their [prosecutors’] problem if they are unfamiliar with this. We are happy with that meeting. … They can launch as many as investigations they want. They can give as much as sentence they wish,” she said.
The meeting drew strong criticism from both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül. Gül said the video is “saddening” and called on the BDP deputies to act “responsibly and to distance themselves from terrorism.
Erdoğan was also highly critical of the meeting. “Where is this affection coming from,” Erdoğan satirically asked on Sunday after performing Eid prayer in İstanbul. The prime minister reminded of his earlier criticisms of the BDP, which he accuses of being the “extension of the PKK” in Parliament. “The West is declaring the PKK as a terrorist organization. But when I asked them [BDP] why they cannot say the PKK is a terrorist organization, they could never do this. Why? Because the reason for their being in Parliament is the separatist terrorist organization,” he said.
The government accuses the BDP of not sufficiently distancing itself from the PKK and failing to contribute to the resolution of the Kurdish issue by peaceful means.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and US, has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed to date in the decades-long conflict.