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Turkey PM accuses pro-Kurdish party leader of 'treason'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (AFP photo)

Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has lashed out at the leader of the country’s main pro-Kurdish party for his criticism of Ankara’s downing of a Russian jet.

Davutoglu on Thursday accused Selahattin Demirtas, the co-leader of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), of "treason" for using his Moscow trip to condemn Turkey’s November 24 downing of the Russian warplane near the Syrian border.

“They take sides with whoever Turkey is facing a crisis with. Demirtas saying in Moscow that Turkey's downing of Russian jet was wrong is a total disgrace and treason,” Davutoglu said in an address to businessmen in Ankara.

During his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday, Demirtas censured Ankara for the controversial downing of the Russian Su-24 fighter jet and expressed his party’s opposition to the deterioration of ties between Ankara and Moscow following the incident.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shakes hands with Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), during a meeting in Moscow on December 23, 2015. (AFP photo)

Russia has imposed an array of economic and military sanctions on Turkey over the plane downing, while it has intensified its criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his alleged involvement in oil business with the Takfiri group Daesh.  

Erdogan himself has been one of the main critics of the HDP and Demirtas, accusing the party of providing support for the Kurdish militants fighting in Turkey's southeast.

During the Wednesday meeting, Lavrov backed Kurdish militants’ ongoing fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, saying Moscow is ready to cooperate closely with ethnic Kurds in the battle.

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