The Turkish government led by autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has detained about a third of all pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members since July 2015, the pro-Kurdish Mesopotamia news agency reported.
According to the report, 11,631 of the 37,551 members of the HDP have been detained thus far, and 3,382 have been formally arrested by a court.
Among those arrested were 43 HDP provincial co-chairs and 101 HDP district co-chairs as well as former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who are facing hundreds of years of prison sentences on terrorism charges. Moreover, 55 of the HDP’s 59 parliamentarians currently face legal charges.
The Turkish government’s crackdown on the Kurdish political movement began in late 2016 with the arrest of high-profile politicians.
Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with Abdullah Öcalan, jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in July 2015. Since then, there have been heavy 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.