Authorities Have Detained at Least 235 in Latest Crackdown
ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)—Turkish authorities have detained at least 235 people in a targeted raid of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) with allegations of links to the outlawed The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). According to the state-run Anadolu agency, the targeted operation was launched soon after an offshoot of the PKK claimed responsibility of twin bombings that killed 38 people—mostly police officers—and injured over 150 outside of a soccer stadium in Istanbul on Dec. 11.
Shortly after the attack, Turkish forces carried out several air strikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq. According to a statement released by the Turkish military, a headquarters of the militants and surrounding gun positions and shelters were destroyed in the attacks.
The targeted crackdown operation resulted in the arrest of at least 25 HDP officials in Adana, 20 in Istanbul, and 18 in Ankara. At least fifty-one people were also detained in Mersin and five more in the province on Manisa.
HDP’s Mersin Provincial Chairman Sadun Doğan is among the detained suspects, while Akdeniz Municipality Mayor Fazıl Türk is also among 46 suspects sought by the police, reported Turkey’s Daily Sabah.
This latest operation is a part of the ongoing crackdown the pro-democracy HDP. On Nov. 3, HDP lawmakers were targeted in a wave of arrests, which included the detention of its two leaders and at least nine other lawmakers. In the wake of the Nov. 3 Turkish government crackdown on the pro-democracy HDP party, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) registered protests with the U.S. government and launched a nationwide grassroots advocacy campaign calling Secretary of State John Kerry to respond forcefully against Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s attempt to silence the last remaining major pro-democracy voice left in Turkey.
An ANCA action alert—www.anca.org/HDP—provides supporters of a democratic Turkey with the opportunity to ask Secretary Kerry to condemn Ankara’s crackdown and demand the immediate release of imprisoned HDP leaders.
The letter reads, in part: “My request is as simple as it is straightforward: The United States must publicly and forcefully protest Turkey’s crackdown and demand the immediate release of all those imprisoned by the Erdogan regime.”
Commenting on the campaign last month, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian stressed that: “We must break with the failed policies of appeasement that have, for far too long, misguided American policy toward Turkey, allowing Turkish leader and their army of lobbyists to compromise both our country’s interests and our nation’s values.”