Ruling AKP official curses at opposition voters

An official from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Saturday invoked a curse on opposition supporters while accusing the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of failing to denounce a Kurdish insurgency on Turkish soil.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) continues to be a spokesperson for the HDP, taking “any mould in order to gain a few votes in the elections,” the Independent Turkish cited AKP deputy chairman Mehmet Özhaseki as saying in a speech in the central province of Kayseri.

“Damn their votes. May God curse their votes,” Özhaseki said in a speech where he referenced the killing of 13 Turkish nationals in northern Iraq earlier this month.

“The HDP failed to issue damnation against the PKK,” the AKP official said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for Kurdish self rule for four decades.

The Turkish government on Feb. 14 announced that the PKK executed 13 kidnapped Turks in northern Iraq’s Gara region amid a Turkish military operation against the group in the area. The PKK says Turkish air strikes are to blame for the deaths.

The HDP, which Ankara accuses of having ties to the PKK, expressed “great sadness” over the executions, calling on the PKK to release its remaining prisoners. 

Both the CHP and HDP have expressed that Ankara is to blame for the failed rescue mission, pressing the government for details around the deaths. Moreover, over 700 HDP members and supporters were detained over terror links following the killings.

HDP spokeswoman Ebru Günay reacted to Özhaseki’s remarks on Twitter, saying it was in nobody’s place to curse an entire group of people.

“The people you curse will be the end of you at the ballots,” Günay said. 

CHP lawmaker Çetin Arık said the government was looking to assign blame to others over the losses in Gara as part of an effort to change the political agenda.

“The AKP has ruled the country for 19 years, but never taken responsibility for any incident in their aftermath,”Cumhuriyet cited Arık as saying.