Pervin Buldan, deputy chairman of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), said the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as by the U.S. and EU, "is not a terrorist organization," sparking immediate outrage on social media late on Thursday.
Speaking live on CNNTürk on the night of the election of Parliament speaker, Buldan said: "The PKK is not a terrorist organization, the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] has to know this." The remarks about an organization that is seen by Turkey as a terrorist organization that has not laid down its arms despite the reconciliation process pursued by the government caused an outcry from the public. The MHP has been the harshest opponent of the HDP, which it closely associates with the outlawed PKK.
Since the elections it has been underscoring that it will never side with a party that is backed by the PKK.
In an official statement released in early June, the MHP delivered blistering criticism of the HDP. It said: "They [the HDP] have our soldiers, our policemen, our civilians and mostly the Kurdish people's blood on their hands. Let it be known that we do not get in the same bag as snakes,
"Everybody knows that they will not lay down arms unless the PKK wants them to do so," the statement further read.
The MHP apparently equates the party with the PKK, even though the HDP affirms it is an independent political party and acts only as a mediator. However, the party has failed to detach itself from the organization, with the stance of the PKK leadership in northern Iraq's Qandil Mountains, the groups imprisoned leader on İmralı Island and the party being the same. Opposition parties, the liberal and the democratic electorate who voted for the party and Kurds who want peace are expected to all urge the acceleration of peace efforts, aware of the close ties the party has with the PKK, but the PKK has so far shown no sign of laying down arms.
The conflict between the Turkish government and the PKK has been ongoing since 1984 and has resulted in some 40,000-100,000 casualties, as well as major economic losses for Turkey. The PKK, which at first aimed to establish a Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey, has also suffered heavy losses during the clashes.