Jun 18 2019

PKK looking to infiltrate Istanbul through opposition’s İmamoğlu - Turkish interior minister

The Turkish interior minister on Tuesday said the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is attempting to infiltrate the country’s largest city of Istanbul through the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu.

"The PKK is attempting to infiltrate Istanbul by way of İmamoğlu. I say this very clearly. Istanbul is a strong city. If the PKK reattempts to finance its sources, and resupply its human resources there once again, we will not be able to pay the price for this in Istanbul,’’ independent news site T24 quoted Soylu as saying.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right nationalist ally ran a particularly vitriolic campaign ahead of March 31, accusing the CHP of collaborating with "terrorists" for accepting the support of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). The HDP did not name mayoral candidates for seven major cities, Istanbul and Ankara, as part of a move to support the main opposition CHP.

Ankara links HDP with the armed group, designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, EU and the United States, that has been at war in Turkey for over three decades. Turkish authorities have cracked down on HDP members, jailing its former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ over terror-related charges.

HDP’s Demirtaş on Monday expressed his support for opposition candidate İmamoğlu in the Istanbul revote.

İmamoğlu is set to face AKP’s Binali Yıldırım in the Istanbul mayoral revote on June 23 after the ruling party successfully appealed İmamoğlu’s victory in the March 31 polls, citing irregularities and fraud at ballots.