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Turkey's HDP demands criminal probe into Demirtas 'assassination attempt'

The leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has asked state prosecutors to investigate what he has described as an attempt on his life. Demirtas says his car was fired at, but police deny an attack took place.

The co-chairman of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, filed a criminal complaint with authorities in the city of Diyarbakir in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey on Monday.

According to an HDP statement, he was traveling in an armored car through the city on Sunday when the back windscreen was hit by a bullet. The 42-year-old's body guards noticed a dent in the window at head height and informed police. Authorities examined the car and found a three-centimeter (1.2-inch) mark on the glass, but said there was no evidence of gunfire or an assassination attempt.

"The assessment was made that the damage was caused by a blow from a hard object," the police said in a statement, adding that Demirtas had been given police protection during his stay in Diyarbakir and that "no kind of attack against him or against his vehicle had been realized."

But Figen Yuksekdag, who heads the HDP with Demirtas, told a news conference in Ankara the incident was a "clear assassination attempt," and that the police's conclusions were "inconsistent" with the evidence.

String of threats

Demirtas has repeatedly warned of a threats to his life and has also taken steps to boost his security. "According to intelligence, as well as information that has reached police, there is concrete information that different groups were preparing an assassination," he told the DIHA news agency.

Demirtas is seen as one of Turkey's most charismatic politicians, who has become a major rival of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His party won seats in Parliament for the first time in elections in June, which also saw the ruling AK Party fail to win a majority. The HDP managed to cross the 10 percent threshold to stay in the assembly in this month's repeat poll, but the AKP

regained its majority.

HDP supporters have been targeted in a number of recent attacks,

including a bombing at a peace rally

in Ankara that claimed more than 100 lives.

The party was also a facilitator in the two-year ceasefire between the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the government which collapsed in July. Since then,

tensions have escalated

, with frequent deadly clashes between both sides in the southeast of the country.

nm/jm (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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