ISTANBUL – Reuters
Turkish police detained senior local officials from the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Jan. 8 in a raid on one of its Istanbul offices, party officials have said, just days after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
said he backed legal action against its members.
Riot police and special forces took part in the operation, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency, which said the action was part of a crackdown on urban networks of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK) militant group’s youth wing.
Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government accuse the HDP, parliament’s third-biggest party, of being an extension of the PKK, which has fought a three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s southeast and which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
The HDP says it is opposed to violence and wants a peaceful solution for Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent.
The detentions come less than 48 hours after Erdoğan said some HDP lawmakers and local mayors were behaving like members of a terrorist organization and that their positions should not shield them from prosecution.
Party officials said no reason was given for the detentions.
Turkey’s southeast has sunk into its worst violence since the 1990s after a two-year de facto ceasefire between the PKK
and the state collapsed in July 2015.