More than 70 detained in fresh raids in KCK probe

More than 70 detained in fresh raids in KCK probe

More than 70 detained in fresh raids in KCK probe

BDP co-leader Gültan Kışanak (R) sits besides independent deputy Ahmet Türk (C) and BDP deputy Pervin Buldan at a group meeting. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

More than 70 people were detained in simultaneous police raids yesterday around the country for suspected links to the outlawed Kurdish Communities Union (KCK).

The detained included 47 lawyers, most of whom were lawyers of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan, along with former parliamentary deputy Mahmut Alınak and local administrators of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

Police conducted simultaneous operations in 16 provinces including Istanbul, Diyarbakır, Ankara and Bursa and targeted the KCK, the alleged urban wing of the outlawed PKK.

Öcalan’s lawyers, who had visited him on the prison island of İmralı numerous times, were accused of transmitting his orders to the PKK, the Anatolia news agency reported. A law firm in Istanbul and the offices of Özgür Gündem, a pro-Kurdish daily, were among the addresses raided.

The operation prompted reactions from the BDP. Speaking at the BDP parliamentary group meeting yesterday, BDP deputy for the southeast Diyarbakır province Gültan Kışanak said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would “pay a multi-fold price for this tyranny” and warned he might face a fate similar to that of fallen Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, who is now standing trial.

“The arrest orders are coming personally from the prime minister. He draws up the lists in Ankara and gives them to the police. Who can still tell us that there are laws and justice in Turkey?” she said.

Referring to a meeting Erdoğan held with the ministers of justice and the interior on the eve of the latest KCK raids, Kışanak said, “This time they made a decision to silence the lawyers and the press.”

The detention of scores of lawyers “is aimed at eradicating the chance of a defense against those fascist practices,” she said.

Since 2009, some 700 people have been arrested over their alleged links to the KCK, according to government figures, although the BDP puts the figure at more than 3,500.

Five BDP parliamentarians and two prominent intellectuals, publisher Ragıp Zarakolu and academic Büşra Ersanlı, are in custody on similar charges.

Erdoğan said earlier this month his government would not ease its crackdown on the KCK, which Ankara claims wants to replace Turkish government institutions in the southeastern Anatolia region with its own political structures.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

* Compiled from Doğan News Agency and Anatolia News Agency stories by the Daily News staff in Istanbul.