“It’s as if they had bombed the Parliament again,” said Sezgin Tanrikulu, a representative of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkey’s main opposition party, a few hours after the announcement of the arrest of 14 parliamentarians of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the pro-Kurdish and libertarian leftist party led by Selahattin Demirtas. Afterward, in Diyarbakir on Friday, a car bomb struck the building housing the anti-terrorism unit, causing at least eight deaths. The night before, the authorities had blocked access to social networks and limited the WhatsApp and Instagram services.
What happened Saturday in Turkey was expected since June 7, 2015, after the electoral success of the pro-Kurdish political party that, for the first time, managed to field its own parliamentary group and became the third political force in the country. In these 16 months, The AKP government and President Erdogan have severely criminalized this important political party and accused it of being the political arm of the armed organization PKK.
The outcome of that vote, which caused the AKP to lose the parliamentary majority it had enjoyed until then, did not lead to the formation of any government and therefore, the Turks returned to vote a few months later, on Nov. 1. In the last election, the ruling party regained a majority of seats in Parliament, but the presence in parliament of 59 representatives of the pro-Kurdish party blocked the ambitions of President Erdogan, who had aimed at establishing a presidential system without the necessary counterweights.