In Turkey, justice orders the arrest of 82 Kurdish opposition leaders

Step by step, Turkish justice continues its work of eradicating the second opposition party in the country, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), left and pro-Kurdish. On Friday September 25, the Ankara prosecutor’s office ordered the arrest of 82 people whose common point is to have exercised managerial functions within the HDP during the fall of 2014.

Among them are leading figures of the movement, such as the former deputy Sirri Süreyya Önder, who, between 2013 and 2015, visited the prison island of Imrali (north-west of Turkey) to meet Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish rebellion of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as part of a now abandoned peace process.

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The police also proceeded, under the jeers of the population, to the arrest of Ayhan Bilgen, the mayor of Kars (North-East), the last capital of the department still in the hands of the HDP after a wave of evictions and replacements by court administrators.

The public prosecutor justified this crackdown by linking the suspects to violent incidents that occurred in 2014 in South-East Anatolian, mainly populated by Kurds. The region was then under tension due to the offensive of the Islamic State (IS) organization on the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane and the inaction of Ankara, sending back to back ISIS and PKK, in the face of this murderous operation .

Political gesture

Between October 6 and 8, 2014, demonstrations in support of Kobane degenerated into clashes with the security forces, but also with activists from a local Islamist formation, the Party for the Free Cause. Several contradictory reports show 31 to 54 dead, as well as several hundred injured and arrests.

In a statement released Friday, the Ankara prosecutor’s office accuses the 82 suspects of having “Launched numerous appeals to the population urging them to go out in the streets and carry out terrorist actions”.

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The decision to exhume a six-year-old file to justify the arrests has been condemned by a broad spectrum of opposition political parties and civil society organizations, which denounce a political gesture. The Bar of Diyarbakir recalled, in a statement, that a large part of the people currently targeted by an arrest warrant had already been questioned by the prosecution after the incidents of 2014.

“However, going against the law, he decided to mount an operation to arrest again the people he had already heard., he says. The objective of this operation is not to fulfill a legal obligation but to apply a political and arbitrary decision. “

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