Nineteen people including the deputy mayor of İstanbul’s Şişli district have been detained in an operation targeting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its umbrella organization, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) reported on Thursday.
As part of an investigation overseen by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants were issued for 25 suspects including Şişli Deputy Mayor Cihan Yavuz.
Police detained 19 suspects after carrying out raids on 28 locations in a number of İstanbul districts as part of the operation targeting suspected PKK members.
According to MA, among the detainees are journalists Davut Uçar and Kesire Önel; Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) member Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar; Anatolia Association of Solidarity and Assistance for Families of Missing Persons (ANYAKAY-DER) member Alaattin Altıntaş; and former Üsküdar district co-chair Erşan Ongulu from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
The PKK, designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict, focused in southeastern Turkey.
The Turkish government, which has been waging a wide-ranging crackdown on non-loyalist citizens since a failed coup in July 2016, has arrested hundreds of Kurdish politicians and ousted dozens of democratically elected Kurdish mayors from office on terrorism charges.