ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish police detained a pro-Kurdish member of parliament who was wanted over alleged terrorism charges, the Interior Ministry said on Friday, months after her parliamentary immunity had been lifted.
Turkey’s parliament voted to lift Semra Guzel’s immunity in March over a photo of her taken with a militant from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and an arrest warrant was issued for her on charges of membership of a terrorist organisation.
The Interior Ministry said Guzel was caught in a car in Istanbul with fake identification along with two people, one who had a previous record of smuggling migrants and forgery and another who had a record for terrorism propaganda.
The car was headed in the direction of Turkey’s Edirne province, which borders Greece and Bulgaria, the ministry said.
The HDP did not immediately comment.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party and its nationalist allies frequently accuse the HDP of being the PKK’s political wing. Thousands of HDP members have been tried in recent years over similar accusations. The party denies any links to terrorism.
The HDP, the parliament’s third largest party, also faces a case seeking a ban over alleged links to the PKK. The party has said the case is the culmination of a political effort to break it up.
Critics say Turkish courts bend to Erdogan’s and his party’s will after his two decades of increasingly authoritarian rule. The government denies these claims and says the judiciary is independent.
The PKK launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict. It is regarded as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Nick Zieminski)