Erdoğan protests pro-Kurdish HDP by walking off during parliamentary session

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday left a plenary session in the parliament as the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Pervin Buldan prepared to speak, Hürriyet newspaper reported.

The Turkish president joined the special plenary session on Apr. 23, the anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Parliament.

“How can I not leave? Should I listen to those who don’t recite the national anthem in this parliament? Should I listen to those who martyr my soldiers?” Erdoğan said, in an apparent reference to the HDP.

Ankara accuses the HDP of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interest of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been in war in Turkey for over 30 years.

Erdoğan’s walk-off follows an attack on Sunday against the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, as he attended a funeral of a soldier that was killed during clashes with the PKK.

Erdoğan accuses CHP of indirectly supporting the PKK. The party joined forces ahead of the elections with the HDP, though no official alliance was forged between the two parties. The HDP also called on to its voters to cast their votes in the March 31 elections in favour of opposition candidates in the western parts of the country to form an anti-Erdoğan bloc.

“You are going to cooperate with the political wing [of the PKK]. And then you go to this funeral. There is a point of gas compression here… As president, even I ask myself before each visit. Does my arrival disturb the place? If it does, then I don’t go,” Erdoğan said  addressing the attack against the CHP leader.

Erdoğan is one of many AKP figures that have said Kılıçdaroğlu’s attendance at Sunday’s funeral for the fallen soldier where top officials from the government, military and police were in attendance was ill-planned.

Turkey detained nine people over the incident, which saw Kılıçdaroğlu shoved and punched by a mob, including a member of Turkey’s ruling AKP. Eight were later released and one suspect remains in police custody.

When asked, Erdogan said he has no plans to call the main opposition party leader Kılıçdaroğlu after the attack on Sunday after saying that he already made his comments.