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19 Mar, 2021 13:23

Turkey detains pro-Kurdish party officials after launching legal effort to ban People’s Democratic Party

Turkey detains pro-Kurdish party officials after launching legal effort to ban People’s Democratic Party

Turkish police have detained at least 36 members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), days after launching a court case to ban the group over claims it’s linked to militants from the banned Kurdish PKK organization.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s chief prosecutor, Bekir Sahin, filed a case in the country’s constitution court to formally disband the HDP, claiming that it is linked to “PKK terrorists and affiliated organizations”, accusing the political group of “acting as an extension” of them.

The HDP has pledged to fight what it describes as a “political coup” by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, and the move was condemned by the United States, who called it an attempt to “unduly subvert the will of Turkish voters.”

State media in Turkey reported the arrests of at least 36 HDP members – 10 in the main city of Istanbul – and stated that five others were being hunted by police over alleged links to militants.

Alongside the detention of the pro-Kurdish party officials, Turkish authorities arrested Ozturk Turkdogan, who leads the Human Rights Association (IHD) in the country, after raiding his property, with the IHD calling the police’s actions “a blatant human rights violation.”

Also on rt.com Turkey calls for respect for its judicial process as it rejects international condemnation of move to ban pro-Kurdish party

Alongside the legal action against the HDP, Turkey’s parliament expelled a member of the HDP on Wednesday after their conviction for a social media post was upheld in the country’s court. Five years ago, MP Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu was given a 30-month sentence for retweeting a post that called for peace talks between Turkey and Kurdish figures to resume.

The Turkish government has increasingly targeted pro-Kurdish figures in recent years, since a truce between the PKK and Erdogan’s government fell apart. The PKK is currently listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara and its allies, including the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union.

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