Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP Co-chair Buldan: Interior minister threatened me on phone

HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan.

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Pervin Buldan has claimed Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu threatened her, telling her that HDP officials no longer have the right to live in Turkey and that that they should leave the country, T24 reported on Wednesday.

“We will teach your place. You have no right to live in this country, you can go wherever you want,” Soylu allegedly said.

Buldan held a press conference at HDP headquarters in Ankara, stating that Soylu had called her after the murder of a shopkeeper in Ağrı province.

According to Buldan, Soylu accused HDP officials of committing the murder.

Turkish media reported on Tuesday that Mevlüt Bengi, a shopkeeper in the village of Yanyurt, was killed by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.

While the pro-government media reported that Bengi had been killed because he had cast his ballot for the Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to the pro-Kurdish media the motive behind the murder was Bengi’s job as a police informant.

“This murder should be investigated immediately. Those responsible should be punished,” Buldan said.

“Even the CHP [Republican People’s Party] will not save you,” Interior Minister Soylu allegedly told Buldan on the phone.

In Sunday’s elections, HDP surpassed the 10 percent election threshold, which according to some analysts, was only possible because some CHP supporters’ voted for the HDP. “Everyone should know his place. Soylu, should know his place,” Buldan said during the press meeting.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could give his nationalist allies cabinet posts, rewarding their support for his AKP in parliament and signaling a tough line against US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria and militants at home, Reuters reported, citing sources.

Erdoğan won 53 percent of the vote in Sunday’s presidential election, extending his rule until at least 2023 — but now with the sweeping executive powers that Turks narrowly backed in a referendum last year.

The ruling AKP he co-founded fared less well, taking 43 percent in the parliamentary election held on the same day. But, allied with the hard-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which won 11 percent, it will have a parliamentary majority.

The AKP, an Islamist-rooted, pro-business party which in its early years in power from 2002 appealed to the center-right and worked to bring Turkey closer to Europe, is now allied with a deeply nationalist party suspicious of foreign powers.

The MHP, founded by an ex-colonel involved in a 1960 military coup, is hostile to the Kurdish political movement, and its base is seen as closely tied to the “Grey Wolves,” a nationalist youth group that fought street battles with leftists in the 1970s. Mehmet Ali Ağca, who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, was a member of that movement.

“It is possible for there to be some names close to the MHP that the president deems appropriate in the cabinet,” an MHP official said, adding, “In the end, Erdoğan will decide.”

A source close to Erdoğan’s office said it would “not be a surprise” if the president appointed ministers close to the MHP to Turkey’s new cabinet.

Both sources spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. Erdoğan’s office declined to comment. The MHP’s deputy chairman, Mustafa Kalayci, said any cabinet decisions would be taken by Erdoğan.

“We will not have any expectations such as ‘We gave you this support, so give us five ministries’,” Kalayci told broadcaster CNN Turk.

Together, the two parties won 343 of parliament’s 600 seats, according to unofficial results. Although parliament has lost some of its powers under the new executive presidency, an opposition-controlled assembly would have been able to slow down lawmaking for Erdoğan. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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