Main opposition leader Kilicdaroglu points to HDP in solution for Kurdish issue

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The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party on Sunday said the solution to Turkey’s decades-long Kurdish problem laid with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is facing closure over alleged terror links.

The HDP should be recognised as a ‘’legitimate addressee’’ in Turkey’s Kurdish problem, Karar newspaper cited Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as saying.

“We should see the HDP as a legitimate organ,’’ he said.

Turkey’s second-largest opposition party, the HDP is accused of being a centre of activity for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been partner to an internal conflict with the Turkish state since the 1980s. 

The group is facing a closure case over terror links, while Ankara has implemented a years-long crackdown on the party. Several of the HDP’s leading figures, including former co-chair and presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş are currently imprisoned on terrorism charges.

The CHP leader said that the HDP had considerable backing from the public and was carrying out its duties as a political party.

“If this problem is to be solved, it is to be solved through a legitimate organ (such as the HDP), ’’ the CHP leader added.

Since 1984, Turkey has been locked in a struggle against the PKK, a Kurdish militant group that is considered a terrorist organisation by Ankara, the United States and the European Union. Over 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died in the conflict that has spilled across Turkish borders, drawing in its neighbours and their own minority Kurdish populations. 

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