Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu on Sept. 9 criticized a legal investigation on him following his comments on drone attacks in the country’s southeast, saying that the move was against the law.
An Ankara prosecutor on Sept. 8 filed an indictment against Tanrıkulu after he voiced concerns over allegations that an armed drone in the southeastern province of Hakkari shot four citizens, leaving one dead.
“I expressed my thoughts on the issue at the parliament during a press conference on Monday. All the speeches and opinions we deliver at the parliament are within the chair immunity. Therefore, an investigation cannot be launched about that. An unconstitutional investigation was launched,” Tanrıkulu told reporters ahead of a party meeting.
He also said the prosecutor’s investigation came after the president’s instruction.
“Yesterday, Justice and Development Party chairman Mr. Erdoğan clearly targeted me. Despite this, I will continue to tell the truth and also continue my struggle with the human rights violations,” he said.
President Erdoğan had lashed out at Tanrıkulu earlier in the day, saying that “the drones only shot terrorists.”
“Where are those civilians?” Erdoğan said on Sept. 8 before embarking on a trip to Kazakhstan, adding that armed drones “shot only terrorists.”
“These individuals have come to a point where they are defending dead terrorists,” he added, referring to the lawmaker.
“There is strong evidence that he has defamed the legitimacy of the Turkish state by posting a message on Twitter alleging that an unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] of the Turkish state has shot civilians and killed them,” the Ankara
Public Prosecutor’s office stated on Sept. 8.
Tanrıkulu had said on his Twitter account on Sept. 7 that four civilians were bombed by an armed drone on Aug. 31 in Hakkari, killing one civilian.
“There was JİTEM [Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-Terror Unit] in the past, now there are SİHAs [UAV]. That kind of method cannot exist in a state of law, but can exist in a state of war, but yet there are rules of war,” he had said, referring to a Turkish abbreviation used for armed drones.