Istanbul police detain 38 in dawn raid in tense Okmeydanı neighborhood

Istanbul police detain 38 in dawn raid in tense Okmeydanı neighborhood

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul police detain 38 in dawn raid in tense Okmeydanı neighborhood

DHA Photo

Some 38 people were detained by Istanbul police in a major operation early on May 26 centered on the flashpoint neighborhood of Okmeydanı, the scene of two deaths last week amid clashes between police and protesters.

Police raided houses close to the neighborhood’s cemevi, where 30-year-old Uğur Kurt was struck and killed by a police bullet on May 22, touching off renewed hostility between the security forces and the Alevi and left-wing constituents of the quarter. Another man, Ayhan Yılmaz, was killed May 23 amid clashes between the opposing sides.

Some 26 people from the Patriot and Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), the self-styled youth and public order organization of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and 12 members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) were detained, Anadolu Agency reported.
Five of the detainees are under 18, reports said.

Officers, including the riot squad, special forces and plainclothes police officers, utilized water cannon, armored personnel carriers and helicopters in the operation.

The operation began at 5 a.m. and lasted five hours. Police established a security cordon to prevent journalists from witnessing any of the events.

Police confiscated a number of documents at 18 raided addresses, while also allegedly seizing guns, 500 grams of explosives, fireworks, 46 ready Molotov cocktails and materials to construct Molotov cocktails.

During a raid at one association, DHKP/C members allegedly set some computers and documents on fire, but police managed to extinguish the flames.

There were also simultaneous raids in other areas of Istanbul, including Sancaktepe, Gazi and Alibeyköy.

On May 22, a small group of high-school students staged a protest to commemorate the 301 miners killed on May 13 in Soma, as well as Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old from Okmeydanı who died on March 11 after spending 269 days in a coma after being struck by a police tear-gas canister. Police clashed with the group before opening fire with live ammunition, striking and killing Kurt.