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    08-Sep-2017

Turkey Probes Opposition MP over Drone Death Claim

 

AFP

 

Turkey on Friday launched a probe into a main opposition party MP for accusing the government of killing and wounding civilians with drones, and said only terrorists had been targeted.
 
Ankara's chief prosecutor said Sezgin Tanrikulu, a Republican People's Party (CHP) MP, would be investigated to see if he had "denigrated the spirit of the Turkish republic" in a tweet, state-run news agency Anadolu reported.
 
"Denigrating Turkishness" is a criminal act under Article 301 of the penal code and is punishable by up to two years in prison.
 
The prosecutor said the probe followed a tweet on Wednesday by Tanrikulu which said: "Armed unmanned aircraft hit civilians, killed them."
 
It referred to claims that one civilian was killed and three others were injured by drones in the southeastern province of Hakkari which borders Iran and Iraq.
 
Turkey has launched operations in Hakkari and elsewhere in the Kurdish majority south-east against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency since 1984.
 
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied civilians had died, telling reporters in Istanbul: "Where are those civilians? Those drones hit terrorists.
 
"Terror organizations are looking for a hole to escape from, and these gentlemen (CHP) have come to a point of defending terrorists killed."
 
Erdogan said he expected CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to criticize Tanrikulu and ask him: "Who are you with? Are you with the terrorists or with the country's security forces?"
 
Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli accused Tanrikulu of "acting as the spokesman of a terror organization," and insisted that "not one" civilian had been killed.
 
Activists have claimed innocent civilians have been killed in the offensives by the Turkish security forces, but the military says it takes precautions to avoid civilian casualties.
 

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