Police have taken 18 people into custody in four cities across Turkey in raids that were launched early in the morning, Turkish media reported on Monday.
The people detained by the police in the raids carried out simultaneously in Diyarbakır, İzmir, Antalya and Mardin include politicians from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) and the Kurdistan Socialist Party (PSK) as well as trade union members and a member of the Peace Mothers, group of Kurdish mothers whose children are either militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or political dissidents.
The police officers reportedly created chaos during the raids.
The detainees were taken to the Diyarbakır Police Department. The charges were not disclosed, but Kurdish politicians and activists frequently face allegations of terrorism in Turkey due to their alleged links to the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US. The prosecutors’ office prohibited any meeting between detainees and their lawyers for 24 hours.
The HDP is under immense pressure from the Turkish government and currently faces a closure case.
Both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), frequently accuse the HDP, the second-largest opposition group in parliament, of ties to the PKK. The party denies the claims.