Turkish gov’t detains 137 Kurds over alleged links to outlawed PKK in 2-day operation

Turkish authorities on Saturday detained 137 people in a two-day nationwide operation aimed at the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

Held on the fourth anniversary of the Kobani protests, which killed and wounded dozens of people across the country, the operation was conducted in 13 provinces against possible attacks from the PKK, the agency quoted the Turkish Interior Ministry as saying.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) besieged Syria’s mainly Kurdish city of Kobani in late 2014, which led to 45,000 refugees crossing into Turkey. A number of refugees were stopped at the border and ordered to return to Kobani by Turkish authorities.

The Kobani protests between Oct. 6-7, 2014 were a reaction by Turkey’s Kurdish citizens’ demanding that the government step up to protect Kobani and its population. The protests later morphed into fierce clashes between pro and anti-PKK groups in which 53 people were killed.

The Turkish Armed Forces on Friday announced that 68 PKK militants were killed during operations both inside and outside Turkey between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4. Nine soldiers were killed and nine were injured during the operations.

Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with jailed PKK chief Abdullah Öcalan for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015. Since then, there have been clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces.

More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU.

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