The Justice Ministry of Turkey submitted a request to the Prime Ministry on 4 March 2016 to lift the parliamentary immunity of five deputies of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including co-chair Selahattin Demirtas. This was after a prosecutor brought a case against the deputies accusing them of being members of a terrorist organization.
On 6 March 2016, Demirtas held a meeting with foreign journalists. In his statement, Demirtas claimed that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused and punished the HDP for having close ties with the terrorist group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) because he could not accept the HDP’s passing the electoral threshold. He also alleged that the HDP has no relationship with the PKK. In his statements published in Le Monde and Reuters, he said:
We do not have any relation with the PKK. We are a legal and peaceful party. As for the PKK, it is an armed organization which is active in the Middle East.
However, there is evidence suggesting that some HDP members have links with the PKK, a militant group listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, the EU and NATO which seeks to establish its Marxist-Leninist ideology in southeastern Turkey.
On 20 July 2015, the HDP co-chair Figen Yuksekdag said: “We lean on the YPG”. The YPG (People's Protection Units) is a PKK affiliated group which is active in Syria.
On 25 July 2015, a video recorded early last year showing the HDP Sirnak deputy Faysal Sariyildiz carrying weapons for the PKK was revealed.
On 27 July 2015, the HDP Hakkari deputy Abdullah Zeydan said: “The PKK is a peace movement that emerged to turn the Middle East into rose garden”.
On 23 August 2015, in the Suruc district of Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province, a bomb-laden vehicle which was rented by the HDP-run Suruc Municipality was found.
On 14 September 2015, Cemil Bayik, a member of the leadership council of the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union), which is the PKK’s umbrella group, called on Kurds to: “Support our struggle, vote for the HDP.”