Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the Turkish parliament to remove the parliamentary immunity of deputies of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who he said were "spokesperson" for the separatist terrorist organisation PKK.
Erdogan’s comments came on Wednesday in the Turkish capital Ankara as he addressed a large group of local administrators from 11 provinces.
The president slammed one HDP deputy in particular who recently visited the family of a suicide bomber who killed 29 people in last week's terrorist attack in Ankara to offer their condolences.
The Feb. 17 blast, which targeted military buses in central Ankara, also left at least 81 others wounded.
"Nowhere in the world can you see a politician, a political party or a lawmaker backing suicide bombers targeting civilians," he said, and called on the parliament to take the necessary action regarding the recently submitted motions to strip the HDP lawmakers of their political immunity.
"Neither we nor this nation can be expected to make an effort to tolerate deputies who do nothing but act as a mouthpiece for the separatist terrorist organisation," he said, adding, "If a deputy has engaged in an act that is considered a crime as per the Counter-Terrorism Act, then the necessary action must be taken."
"Just as having the title of a deputy cannot prevent someone from acting like a terrorist, it should also not prevent them from being punished," he said.
The suicide bomber behind the deadly blast was identified as Abdulbaki Somer, according to prosecution sources on Tuesday.
The identity of the bomber was revealed by a DNA test, which confirmed that the DNA samples provided by Somer's father matched the assailant's.
Somer's father, who lives in the eastern province of Van, had informed the police that his son was behind the attack.
Abdulbaki Somer, born in 1989, reportedly joined the PKK terrorist organisation at the age of 16 in 2005 and was based in the Qandil mountains - the PKK base in northern Iraq - until 2014.
Fifteen suspects are currently in custody in relation to the vehicle-borne suicide attack.