The co-leader of the Kurdish-problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) accused the European Union of turning a blind eye to human rights violations in Turkey in a doomed bid for a solution to its migrant crisis, in an interview with the Greek newspaper on Feb. 17.
“Europe is closing its eyes to the trampling of human rights in Turkey and is preparing to succumb to [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s threats and blackmail,” HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş told the Efimerida Ton Syntakton.
But Demirtaş, who met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on a visit to Athens, said this policy was a “big mistake.”
“Erdoğan is neither willing nor able to solve the refugee issue,” he said.
Demirtaş said the Turkish army was actively cooperating with extremist groups in Syria.
“They are cooperating with two extreme Islamist groups, they are protecting jihadists and al-Nusra [al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria],” Demirtaş said.
He added that the groups “cross fighters and weapons from Turkish soil (into Syria) with the cooperation of Turkish authorities.”
Demirtaş was in Athens to attend a conference on the 17th anniversary of the capture of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, and he called for his release to stop the clashes in southeast Turkey and Syria.
In an apparent show of solidarity, pictures show Demirtaş sitting next to Saleh Muslim, head of the Syrian Kurdish PYD party, whose militants were hit by Turkish forces over the weekend. Turkey insists it was returning fire.