Demirtas
Selahattin Demirtas is often dubbed the 'Kurdish Obama' because of his youth and oratory skillsSertac Kayar

Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish People's Party (HDP), has said 80 deputies from his party will pre-emptively lift its own immunity from prosecution after being accused by Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan of having links with "terrorist groups".

The flamboyant leader of the ruling AK Party called for the prosecution of party leaders and urged parliament to strip MPs of immunity from prosecution for alleged links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Turkey is conducting air strikes against sites used by the outlawed Kurdish separatist group after it claimed the killing of Turkish policemen.

Prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu also announced the arrest of several members of the Marxist militant group, in a serious blow to the stalled peace process with the Kurds.

"It is not possible for us to continue the peace process with those who threaten our national unity and brotherhood," Erdogan told a news conference in Ankara.

Demirtas, also known as the "Kurdish Obama", reacted to Erdogan's rant saying that Turkey's ongoing military operations against the PKK was aimed at creating a civil war in the country.

"We have committed no unforgivable crimes. Our only crime was winning 13% of [the] vote," he said. Demirtas also accused Erdogan of vetoing a plan by the PKK's jailed leader Abdullah OCalan to call for the Kurdish separatists to disarm.

Turkey's parliamentary elections have seen the AK Party lose the majority it had held for 13 years. In a blow to Erdogan's ambitions to change the constitution and turn Turkey into a presidential regime, the AKP won only 41% of all seats, representing an eight-point drop since the 2011 elections.

Erdogan is trying to undermine the HDP ahead of a possible early election.

The political row came after Turkey's military said a soldier who was seriously wounded in an armed attack in the town of Semdinli, near the border with Iraq, has died.

The infantry sergeant was shot in the head by a Kurdish militant amid increased tension and violence between Turkey and the Kurdish separatists. A day earlier, a military police major was killed in an ambush in the south-eastern province of Mus.

A senior Turkish AK Party official said Turkey's peace process with the Kurds was not over, but just on hold.

Besir Atalay, a spokesman for the ruling party, maintained that the negotiations with the PKK can be rekindled when Kurdish rebel fighters pull out from Turkish territory and lay down arms, according to AP.

Turkey and Ocalan started peace talks in 2012 with the purpose of ending the bloody 30-year conflict that killed tens of thousands. A ceasefire was declared in 2013 which was held until last week, when the rebels claimed credit for killing two policemen after the Suruc suicide bombing, in which 32 young socialists were killed by an alleged Islamic State (Isis) militant.