Gülsüm Ağaoğlu, a Kurdish politician and a member of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has been put in pre-trial detention for “insulting” President Recep Erdogan during a Newroz speech she delivered  in Tekirdag.

According to the İhlas news agency, Ağaoğlu is also accused of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” during her speech.

The Turkish government’s crackdown on the Kurdish political movement began in late 2016 with the arrest of high profile politicians, including the party’s then co-chairs, Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, which led to the detention of at least 5,000 members of the HDP, including 80 mayors. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast. There are currently 10 HDP deputies behind bars. The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.

Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with jailed PKK chieftain Öcalan for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015. Since then, there have been heavy clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces.

More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

Over 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including a number of women and children, have been killed since July 2015 alone, when the Turkish government and the PKK resumed the armed struggle again.

Related News