Turkish police raid homes of members of pro-Kurdish HDP, detain 36 on terror charges

Turkish police raided the homes of members and officials of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the headquarters of an art association on Monday, detaining 36 on terrorism charges, Turkish Minute reported.

According to the Mezopotamya news agency, the Adana Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 38 people.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said 36 people were detained in the operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In a statement on social media, Soylu said, “In the operation carried out in Adana under the coordination of the chief public prosecutor’s office and the police, 36 out of 38 people are in custody.”

Police raided the Binevş Culture and Art Association headquarters and locations in Adana, Mersin and Diyarbakır.

Among those detained on Monday were HDP Adana Provincial Co-Chairs Helin Kaya and Mehmet Karakış and Seyhan Municipality Deputy Mayor Funda Buyruk.

Residents of the homes that were raided spoke to Mezopotamya and said the police broke down the doors despite their pleas not to, and some claimed they were beaten and strip-searched during the raids.

“In the early morning hours, many of our colleagues, including our provincial co-chairs Mehmet Karakış and Helin Kaya, were detained. We will not surrender, we will not give up,” the HDP Adana office tweeted.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), together with its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the outlawed PKK, which is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and the US, and has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The party denies links to the PKK and says it is working to achieve a peaceful solution to Turkey’s Kurdish issue and is only coming under attack because of its strong opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 19-year rule.

The political and legal assault on the HDP, which intensified after a truce between Kurdish militants and the AKP government broke down in 2015, grew even stronger after Erdoğan survived a coup attempt in July 2016 that was followed by a sweeping political crackdown.

The party currently faces a closure case on charges of “attempting to destroy the indivisibility between the state and the people.”

Hundreds of HDP politicians, including the party’s former co-chairs, are behind bars on terrorism charges, while most of the 65 HDP mayors elected in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast in 2019 have been replaced by government-appointed trustees.

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