Slain HDP staffer’s father indicted on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda

The father of a young woman who was killed in an attack at the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) office in western Turkey last year has been indicted on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Bianet news website.

Party employee Deniz Poyraz, 38, was killed in an attack at the HDP office in İzmir in June 2021. The attack came at a time of increased pressure on the party, which is accused of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US, as it faces a closure case on terrorism charges, and when hundreds of its politicians including two former co-chairs are behind bars on politically motivated charges.

The İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office drafted the indictment against Poyraz’s father, Abdülilah Poyraz, due to remarks he made in an interview with the Mezopotamya news agency following the murder of his daughter.

During the interview the father said his daughter was no different than Kurds killed by Turkish security forces and that she was the “martyr” of all Kurds.

“My only wish from everyone is that we get united. Long live the Kurdish people and the HDP,” said the father.

The first hearing will take place at the İzmir 15th High Criminal Court on May 30.

Poyraz family lawyer Türkan Arslan Ağaç told Bianet that the indictment against Deniz’s father was drafted by the prosecutor who investigated Deniz’s murder.

The lawyer accused the prosecutor of failing to conduct an effective investigation into the murder, of contributing to the destruction of relevant evidence and of preventing the masterminds from being exposed.

Onur Gencer, the 27-year-old assailant who admitted to killing Deniz Poyraz, turned himself in to the police and was arrested by a criminal court of peace the next day.

Gencer faces aggravated life on charges of premeditated murder and an additional seven years on charges of violating the privacy of a workplace and damaging buildings and property used by a political party.

It has emerged that Gencer previously posted photos on social media making an ultranationalist hand gesture associated with the Grey Wolves, a far-right group with close ties to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as their election partner, the MHP, have long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the PKK. The party denies links to the PKK and says it is working to achieve a peaceful solution to Turkey’s Kurdish issue and is only coming under attack because of its strong opposition to Erdoğan’s 20-year rule.

The Kurdish issue, a term prevalent in Turkey’s public discourse, refers to the demand for equal rights by the country’s Kurdish population and their struggle for recognition.

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