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Turkey president blasts call for Kurdish autonomy as '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 President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AFP photo)

Turkey’s president has lashed out at a Kurdish politician for calling for the creation of a Kurdish entity inside the country.

Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), had proposed late last week that Turkey’s Kurds either seek out an autonomous Kurdish region or live "under one man's tyranny."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted to the remarks on Tuesday by saying, "What the co-leader has done is treason, provocation."

The barbs of criticism come amid continuing widespread protest by the members of the minority, who seek to distance themselves from Ankara.

Turkey’s southeastern regions have been the scene of confrontations between the Turkish Army and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which began fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey in the 1980s.

Late Sunday, Turkish police fired teargas to disperse thousands chanting slogans in support of the Kurdish militants and demonstrating against curfews in the southeast.

Clashes also erupted between several dozen protesters and police officers outside Mersin State Hospital in the city of Mersin, following the shooting of Sedate Beran by the police. The 20-year-old had been shot by police during a demonstration in the city earlier in the day against Ankara's ongoing security operations in eastern Turkey.

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