Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chairman of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), who is currently on trial for several terror-related charges has voiced self-criticism regarding his stance during the so-called trench incidents in southeastern Turkey in 2015.
"I confess that I was wrong in this matter. I did not know the digging of ditches were so widespread when the first news came in. I did not know it, and I could not predict it. I say this as a self-criticism to the party," he told the Ankara 19th High Criminal Court Thursday.
Demirtaş, who pleaded against the summary of proceedings that was prepared for him, stated that he was mistaken in his explanations for the ditches dug and barricade conflicts that took place in 2015.
He stated that 15 days after the news broke, there were reports from party members about the events, but they could not predict some of the details.
"There were reports that these events were events were widely held and civilians were involved. We saw the events as supported not only by politicized people but also by ordinary people… Unfortunately, when I was in politics, this was something I missed," he said.
In 2015, PKK, a listed terrorist organization in Turkey, unilaterally broke a cease-fire and targeted cities and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) demanding autonomy. It built barricades and dug trenches in southeastern cities including Diyarbakır, Mardin, Hakkari and Şırnak. The PKK's armed attacks for autonomy demands overlapped with the discourse of HDP deputies.The HDP has long been accused of failing to distance itself from the PKK. It gained a decent public image before the elections on June 7, 2015, as it pledged to be "the party of the whole of Turkey." However, the HDP's image is now in tatters.
Meanwhile, along with the accusations towards Demirtaş, the HDP is expecting to nominate the former co-chair as its presidential candidate for the 2019 elections. The issue was reportedly discussed at the HDP's intraparty meetings last week.