Pro-Kurdish officials say gov’t rhetoric to blame for party HQ shooting

An assailant shot seven rounds of bullets at the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Erdal Avci and Elif Bulut, the co-chairs of HDP’s Istanbul organization, blamed the government for the attack, pointing to its inciting rhetoric, during a press conference held hours after the attack.

Bulut pointed at the rhetoric employed by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, saying that their utterances targeting HDP would result in such attacks.

The authorities haven’t yet disclosed the motives of the attacker.

The ruling AK Party government has led a crackdown against the pro-Kurdish politicians after the breakdown of peace talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which brought an end to a two-year-long ceasefire in 2015.

The state of emergency declared after the failed 2016 coup saw the crackdown intensified.

Months into the emergency rule, Turkish courts jailed Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, then co-chairs of the party.

Out of 65 HDP mayors who won their offices through democratic elections in March 2019, authorities replaced 32 with state-appointed trustees, jailing 23 of them on terror-related offenses.

The ruling AKP has long accused the HDP of having links to the PKK, a Kurdish militant group that waged an armed insurgency for self-rule for decades and designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

Erdogan and his ally see half of the country as terrorists: Main opposition leader

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