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Erdogan excludes pro-Kurd party from first meeting with opposition after coup

HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas slams as 'mindless' his party's exclusion from national unity talks in Ankara on Monday
Selahattin Demirtas's HDP party held a separate rally on Saturday in Istanbul under the banner "No to coups. Democracy now" (AFP)

The co-leader of the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP) has hit out at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for exluding his party from talks at the presidential palace, while inviting the heads of the two other major opposition parties.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the secular-nationalist Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and Devlet Bahceli, leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are both set to meet Erdogan at 2pm on Monday at the palace in Ankara where he will thank them for standing with the government against the 15 July coup attempt.

The meeting follows a demonstration on Sunday where members of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and the CHP came together for the first time in support of the "republic" and "democracy" despite longstanding animosity between the two groups over secularism and the increasingly authoritarian tendences of Erdogan.

However, the decision not to invite HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag was met with anger from the party, who say they are being excluded due to continuing attempts by the government to link them with violence in the country's Kurdish-majority southeast and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The vast majority of HDP parliamentarians are currently under threat of prosecution over various alleged statements in support of "terrorism" and "seperatism".

"The continued exclusion of the HDP from politics in Turkey, especially its continuation even after the attempted coup is shallow and mindless," said Demirtas, speaking to Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet on Monday.

"They [AKP] feel personal rage against the HDP. Because in the end the HDP was the opposition party that most strongly opposed the AKP. That is why they also try to associate us with violence."

The HDP organised a seperate rally against the coup attempt in Istanbul on Saturday, under the banner "No to coups. Democracy now."

Although Erdogan snubbed the HDP, his prime minister did thank the HDP for condemning the coup.

“I am thanking the presidents of all Turkish political parties, especially HDP who condemned the coup,” said Binali Yildirim at an extraordinary session in the damaged Turkish parliament the day after the coup attempt.

“I am proud of the Turkish nationals who took to streets and altogether said no to the coup."

Despite apparent attempts at political cooperation, opposition leaders have expressed concern over the scale of the crackdown in the wake of the coup.

Since the failed coup, a total of 13,165 people have been detained, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late on Saturday.

This included 8,838 soldiers, 2,101 judges and prosecutors, 1,485 police officers and 689 civilians.

At least 123 generals and admirals have also been jailed, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.

Human rights group Amnesty International said on Sunday it had "credible evidence" of abuse and torture of people detained in sweeping arrests since Turkey's 15 July attempted military coup, which left more than 250 people dead.

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