Pro-Kurdish leaders investigated by Turkey for opposing Syrian offensive

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into politicians from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) over a statement opposing the government’s military operation against Kurdish-led autonomous regions in northeast Syria, Turkish news site Diken reported.

HDP co-leaders Sezai Temelli and Pervin Buldan and lawmakers Gülüstan Kılıç Koçyiğin, Leyla Güven and Berdan Öztürk are accused of terrorist propaganda and public denigration of the government for their statement titled “raise your voice against war for Rojava”.

Turkey’s offensive, Operation Peace Spring, targets Kurdish militias that set up a large self-governing territory in northeast Syria, known as Rojava, during the eight-year conflict.

Ankara views the Kurdish forces as terrorists due to their links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed militant group that has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for more than 30 years.

Lawmakers from the HDP have frequently faced legal action for accusations of support for the PKK since becoming the first pro-Kurdish party to break Turkey’s 10 percent electoral threshold and entering parliament in 2015. Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, two former HDP co-chairs, have been behind bars since November 2016 over alleged PKK links.
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