Kurdish deputy injured in police intervention on funeral

Alican Önlü, Tunceli deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was hospitalised on Saturday after a police intervention on a large group of people on their way to the funeral of a Kurdish activist, daily Evrensel reported.

The funeral attendants were accompanying the body of Aysel Doğan, an early member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who participated in peace efforts between Turkey and the PKK after four decades of bloody conflict that claimed some 40,000 lives from both sides.

Police cut off the crowd as they wished to take Doğan’s body from the entrance of Tunceli province to her family home in the city, ordering that the body be taken to the cemetery instead. The crowd started a sit-in in protest, and were met with tear gas and water cannons.

Önlü was injured in the intervention and was later hospitalised.

“Of course those HDPKK deputies who wanted to attend the funeral of the PKK terrorist organisation member,” Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in a tweet on Saturday evening, posting a video where Önlü is seen throwing rocks at a police vehicle.

“The dirty provocation by Alican Önlü, the terrorist deputy who threw rocks at the police is under the tutelage of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu,” Soylu said.

The HDP is currently facing a lawsuit to shut the party down over allegations of ties to terrorist groups. If the Constitutional Court rules for the shut-down, 451 HDP officials including former and current co-chairs, deputies, mayors and branch representatives will be banned from engaging in politics.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu has voiced concerns over the right to fair trial for several prominent HDP politicians, including former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş who has been behind bars since 2016.

Doğan, who lost her life on Wednesday in Cologne where she was receiving cancer treatment, had moved to Germany in 2016 after being released from prison upon a Court of Cassation ruling that her right to a fair trial had been violated during the proceedings.

She was also part of a group of PKK members who returned to Turkey from Europe in 1999, after the capture and arrest of PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan and his subsequent call as a show of ‘good faith’. Doğan and other members of the group were arrested upon their return, and she spent 10 years in prison on terrorism charges.

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