Turkey orders arrest of Kurdish politicians over 2014 protests

Turkish authorities on Friday ordered the arrest of 82 people including members of a pro-Kurdish opposition party, over 2014 violent protests against the siege by Islamic State (ISIS) of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani.

Protesters flooded streets in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast in early October 2014, accusing the Turkish army of standing by as Islamic State besieged Kobani, just across the Syrian border. The protests led to the deaths of 37 people.

Ankara accuses the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group of inciting the demonstrations. It also accuses the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) of links to the PKK and supporting the protests. The HDP, the third-largest party in parliament, denies this.

HDP c0-chair Mithat Sancar blamed the ruling AK Party for leading to unrest over the ISIS assault on Kobani and said “HDP is not responsible for the October 6-8 Kobani protests.”

In a statement on Friday, prosecutors in Ankara said arrest warrants were issued over “several calls made to invite the public to the streets and carry out terror acts,” adding defendants would be sought in seven provinces.

“The Ankara Prosecutor’s Terror Crimes Investigation Bureau has launched an investigation on the PKK terrorist organization and its so-called executives, as well as certain political party executives and members… and, at the current stage, ordered the detention of 82 suspects,” the prosecutor’s office said.

Kars Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, former deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Ayla Akat Ata, Nazmi Gür, Emine Ayna, Beyza Üstün and Altan Tan, former party spokesperson Günay Kubilay, HDP Central Executive Board (MYK) member Alp Altınörs, Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) member from the HDP, Ali Ürküt are among the detainees.

Detention warrants were issued by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman, who recently drew ire for visiting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the presidential palace after his wedding, Duvar news portal reported.

The PKK designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union which has fought against the state in the southeast since 1984. A ceasefire collapsed in 2015.

Reuters, IPA, Duvar

Turkish court sentences pro-Kurdish MP to jail on terrorism charges

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