Turkey pro-Kurdish party slams ‘lynching’ campaign after night of violence
Nationalist demonstrators overnight targeted dozens of offices of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in demonstrations that following a succession of deadly attacks on the armed forces blamed on Kurdish militants.
Late Tuesday, a HDP office in the capital Ankara was attacked and torched while another branch in the southern city of Alanya was also set on fire.
A party official told AFP that scores of attacks across the country had caused “major damage”.
HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas denounced what he described as two nights of “lynching” which he said was supported by the government.
“In the last two days more than 400 attacks (on HDP) property have been carried out. We are facing a campaign of lynching.”
He said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had ordered a campaign to target the HDP and said they should be brought to justice.
“It is not us (the HDP) who has taken the decision to start this war and intensify it… the decision has been taken by the president and the prime minister,” he said in televised comments.
Nationalists accuse the HDP of being the political wing of the Kurdish militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has killed dozens of members of the security forces in recent days. The HDP denies the allegation.
The headquarters of the Hurriyet newspaper in Istanbul was also attacked for the second time since Sunday by pro-government demonstrators who accused the paper of misquoting Erdogan.
On Tuesday evening, Davutoglu denounced the violence and appealed for calm.
“The objective of terrorism is to undermine our unshakeable, brotherly ties. Attacking the press and the property of political parties is unacceptable,” he wrote on Twitter.
Since Sunday, the PKK has stepped up a series of deadly ambushes in the east and southeast of the country, killing more than 30 soldiers and policemen.
The Turkish military has responded with air strikes and a rare ground incursion into northern Iraq to hunt down the rebels.
The HDP won more than 13 percent of the vote in the June 7 election, a strong performance that effectively prevented the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) from retaining its overall majority.
After coalition talks failed, Turkey is due to vote again on November 1 in snap elections called by Erdogan.
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