Turkish social media users have slammed a video posted by the Istanbul branch of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in support of prisoners who went on a hunger strike to show solidarity with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.
The video under the hashtag "be a voice to make them live," released on HDP Istanbul's official Twitter account, includes the footage of some prisoners on hunger strike, including Erdal Polat, the perpetrator of a PKK terrorist attack that killed seven people in Diyarbakır on Jan. 3, 2008. Polat was sentenced to penal servitude for life for remotely detonating a bomb-laden vehicle as a military shuttle passed by. Seven people were killed and scores of civilians injured in the terrorist attack.
"Who are the thousands of people on hunger strike; who we cannot touch or see and hear what they want? Here is a little about their lives," wrote the description of the video. The HDP's video showing support for a terrorist group faced severe criticism on social media. The Turkish government has long accused the HDP of close links with the PKK. The HDP is known for its support of autonomy in the regions with large Kurdish populations. Also, some of its members have been charged or accused of having links to the terrorist organization. Formed in 1978, the PKK terrorist group has been fighting the Turkish government for an independent state. Its terror campaign has caused the deaths of more than 40,000 people including women, children and the elderly. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.