Pro-Kurdish HDP files complaint against pro-gov't station for targeting party

The opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has filed a complaint against a pro-government channel with the country’s television watchdog, claiming the station targeted the party when it linked it to a terrorist organisation, Birgün newspaper reportedon Friday.

A Haber claimed a municipal HDP building was being used shelter for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) without providing any proof to this end, the HDP said in the complaint it filed with the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), a regulatory body in charge of censoring and sanctioning broadcasts.

Moreover, HDP was not given the right to address and respond to the claim made during the programme that aired on March 8, the complaint said.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of links to the outlawed PKK, an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for Kurdish self-run for almost 40 years. A long-running crackdown on the group - including arrests - intensified in 2019 when its support for the main opposition was crucial in defeating the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in big cities, including Istanbul, in the local elections.

A Haber “engaged in defamation and attribution about the People’s Democratic Party based on the account of secret witnesses,’’ the complaint said, in a move that “violates RTÜK regulations, as well as the laws and the Constitution.’’