Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Turkey arrests dozens over suspected PKK ties ahead of elections

Police in Turkey have arrested 110 people over alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) ahead of the 14 May elections. Reports have indicated that politicians, lawyers and journalists are among those detained.

Turkish Police detained 110 people across the country in what it called a “counter-terror” operation, with politicians, lawyers and journalists reportedly among those arrested.

The operation focused mainly on the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir in the country’s southeast, but extended as far as 21 provinces.

An MP from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) accused the operation of being focused on disrupting his party ahead of 14 May elections.

“On the eve of the election, out of fear of losing power, they have resorted to detention operations again,” tweeted Tayip Temel.

He added that tens of top members of his party were among those detained in Diyarbakir on Tuesday morning.

The HDP has been accused of having links to the PKK, an armed group that has fought a guerilla war with the Turkish state since 1984.

An opposition alliance, which the HDP is not part of, has been projected to potentially unseat the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for the first time since 2002.

While Turkish nationalist elements in the alliance ensured the HDP was excluded, it is expected that there will be tactical voting by the party’s supporters for opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the presidential elections.

The Diyarbakir Bar Association also said that a number of its members were arrested in the operation and said lawyers were not being allowed to visit the detainees or see the investigation files.

“The unlawful practice against our colleagues, journalists and rights defenders, which violates the right to freedom and security, should be stopped and they should be released immediately,” the organisation wrote on Twitter.

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