PKK terror group 'worst thing to befall' region: Erdoğan
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of an irrigation system and 30 factories in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakır, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: "The PKK have killed or abducted over 50,000 people in the past 40 years. They have the blood of our brothers and sisters on their hands," Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan asserted that the PKK and its associated terrorist organizations were guilty of "crimes against humanity" for abducting 13-14 year-old girls to the region's mountains and abusing children.
"The PKK is the top slayer of Kurdish lives. The PKK is the reason why villages are evacuated or burned down," he said.
He also accused the HDP of supporting terrorists while also "talking about peace, democracy, and brotherhood without feeling any embarrassment."
Erdoğan said: "In which democracy does an elected member of parliament, or an elected mayor or party leadership, go and report to terror group members? In which democracy are funds sent by the state for investments and services used to lay mines on the roads?”
"Every attempt against a country (by the PKK) is supported by politicians. They aren't real supporters of democracy. They are enemies and abusers of democracy," he added.
Erdoğan underlined that the PKK and HDP's "hidden agenda and ill intentions" ended a peace process that lasted from 2013 until 2015.
He also announced that Diyarbakır Prison, "which has been long associated with cruelty, torture, and inhumane acts," would be turned into a cultural center.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK - listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU - has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
The Turkish government says the HDP has links to the PKK terror group, and prosecutors have filed a suit with the nation's highest court to shut the party down.
Earlier in the day, President Erdoğan had paid a visit to families protesting the PKK for abducting or forcibly recruiting their children. The families also accuse the HDP of complicity in their children's abduction or deception to join the PKK.
The protests outside the office of the HDP started in September 2019 with three mothers who said their children had been forcibly recruited by the terrorists.
Speaking to the families, Erdoğan voiced support for their cause and said both the Interior Ministry and other authorities would continue to work on reuniting them with their children.