Turkey detains provincial chairman of human rights NGO

Police in Turkey have detained a provincial chairman of a human rights organization in connection with the recent activities of one of the country’s main opposition parties, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) reported on Monday.

Gurbuz Solmaz, the eastern Tunceli province provincial chairman for the non-government Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD), was reportedly detained after being stopped by police officers while driving. The officers carried out the detention after checking his ID.

According to the report by MA, Solmaz was taken to Tunceli Provincial Police Department and is being questioned on the recent activities and protests of senior pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members as well as members of the party’s provincial organization.

The detention of Solmaz came after Turkish police on Sunday raided houses in Tunceli and detained HDP provincial co-chairs among a number of the party’s members.

Among those detained on Sunday are Tunceli co-chairs Hidir Cicek and Ozlem Toprak and Yunus Aras, Cemile Atas, Erdal Ekici, Nurgul Yalay, and Ozge Hosoglu.

The detentions were carried out on the accusation of “making propaganda for an armed terrorist organization.”

Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) blames the pro-Kurdish HDP for having connections to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organization by the government.

The PKK is an armed militant group that has been fighting an insurgency for the Kurdish self-rule in the country since 1984.

The Turkish government has intensified its crackdown on the pro-Kurdish HDP in the aftermath of the 2015 collapse of a peace process between the AKP government and the outlawed PKK.

Many HDP officials, including the pro-Kurdish party’s former co-chair Selahattin Demirtas, are currently behind bars.

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