At least 44 detained in latest Istanbul 'anti-terror' operation

At least 44 detained in latest Istanbul 'anti-terror' operation

At least 44 detained in latest Istanbul anti-terror operation

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At least 44 suspects, including local heads of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), were detained in a pre-dawn “anti-terror” police operation in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

The suspects were detained as Istanbul Police Department Counterterrorism Unit officers raided more than 60 separate locations, supported by police helicopters, at around 5 a.m. across the city’s 28 districts, Doğan News Agency reported.

Among the suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were HDP local heads in the districts of Beşiktaş, Şişli, Eyüp and Beylikdüzü, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Several union members and former district mayors were also among the 44 people detained, Reuters reported on Oct. 2, sourcing Turkish media outlets.

The detained suspects were taken to give testimonies at the Istanbul Police Department’s headquarters on Vatan Street in the Fatih district after health check-ups at the Haseki Training and Research Hospital in Fatih.

The suspects are accused of illegally forming courts and extorting money from shopkeepers on behalf of the PKK.

The number of arrest warrants issued for the operation was reported to be 66.

Anadolu Agency also reported that three pistols, an automatic shotgun, a large number of shells, as well as paper and digital documents related to the PKK, were seized in the operation.

The operation comes less than a month before a snap election set for Nov. 1, as an upsurge in violence since late July continues to roil Turkey’s eastern and southeastern provinces.