In Turkey / Türkiye

On Kurdish Question, Aug 11, 2016

Headquarters of People's Democratic Party (HDP) in Istanbul following early morning police raid on Aug 11, 2016 (Twitter)

Headquarters of People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Istanbul following early morning police raid on Aug 11, 2016 (Twitter)

Following the detainment of more than 60 people across four Kurdish cities yesterday, special operations police today raided the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters and several other branches in Istanbul, detaining at least 15. Condemning the raids, HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas said, “You cannot raid the offices of Turkey’s third biggest party like gangsters”.

The Turkish state’s anti-Kurdish policy continues following the 15 July coup attempt as hundreds of people are detained with many being charged and imprisoned. The headquarters of the HPD in Istanbul and smaller party branches in the Beyoglu, Esenyurt, Sultangazi, Bahçelievler, Bagcilar, Avcilar, Arnavutköy, Basaksehir, Esenler and Gaziosmanpasa districts of the city were raided and ransacked concurrently at 3 am by special operations police. The raids were carried out with the aid of helicopters as armoured vehicles blocked roads and people were prevented from entering the area.

They broke everything, including tea cups

Aftermath of early morning police raid on Istanbul offices of HDP party on August 11, 2016

Aftermath of early morning police raid on Istanbul offices of HDP party on August 11, 2016

According to witnesses who entered the HDP headquarters following the raid, which ended at 8 am, police had grafittied racist slogans on the walls and the message “the state comes first” on a poster of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan. All the books and photos were ripped and thrown on the floor, said witnesses, except the Ottoman History Encyclopedia.

Police confiscated the hard drives of all the computers in the building and broke everything including tables, chairs and tea cups. The aid collected for Nusaybin [Kurdish city in Turkey on border with Syria] was also scattered across the floor.

Criticism of state media

Arriving at the scene after police had lifted the blockade, HDP Istanbul co-chair Dogan Erbas reacted strongly against the raid saying, “This isn’t a search, this is a raid. Things should be done according to law. This shows there is no law. The aim is to scare us.”

Erbas criticised state media, which had claimed a wireless transmitter and jammer had been found in the building, and said, “This is complete slander. When they were raiding the place there was no one from our side. They entered our building without permission or notice and without anyone present. Their aim is to terrorise us”.

At least 15 people detained

At least 15 people are thought to have been detained in the raids on 11 branches of the HPD in Istanbul. Those detained have been taken to the anti-terror branch of the Istanbul Police Headquarters. It is thought the operations are connected to the upcoming 32nd anniversary of 15 August, the day when the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) officially started the armed struggle against the Turkish state.

According to Kurdish circles, ‘political genocide’ operations are expected to continue in the coming weeks. There is also the possibility of HDP parliamentarians, whose immunities were lifted, being arrested. Critics of the government are saying president Erdogan will use the coup attempt and 3 month state-of-emergency as an opportunity to purge his detractors.

Source: Özgür Gündem


Turkish police raid pro-Kurdish party, detain 17 across Istanbul: state media

By Daren Butler, Reuters, Aug 11, 2016

ISTANBUL – Turkish police detained 17 suspected militants in a sweep in Istanbul on Thursday that included a raid on offices of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), state media said, hours after twin bomb attacks hit the mainly Kurdish southeast.

Security sources blamed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants for the bombings on Wednesday evening, which killed nine civilians and came as Turkey is in the midst of a crackdown after a failed military coup attempt on July 15.

Backed by a helicopter, counter-terror squads raided HDP offices in Istanbul’s central Beyoglu district at 3 a.m. (0000 GMT) as armoured vehicles were deployed nearby, the Dogan news agency reported.

The HDP, parliament’s third-largest party, wrote on its Istanbul Twitter account that police had broken open the door of its building and “illegally” searched the offices when no party official was present.

The raids, in 10 districts across Turkey’s largest city, targeted the “urban structure” of the PKK, Anadolu said. It said the detainees were accused of “terror group membership”, recruitment and staging illegal protests. A 2-1/2 year ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK fell apart last year, triggering some of the worst violence in the southeast since the group launched its insurgency in 1984.

Bomb blasts in two cities in southeast Turkey killed nine civilians and wounded dozens on Wednesday evening, according to the security sources.

A top PKK commander had warned at the weekend of fresh attacks, saying police “will not be able to live as comfortably as they did in the past in cities.”

“The war will from now on be conducted everywhere without distinguishing between mountains, valleys and cities,” the PKK’s Cemil Bayik said in an interview published by the Firat news agency, which is close to the group.

Wednesday’s bomb attacks, in the southeast’s largest city Diyarbakir and in the Kiziltepe area of Mardin province, were condemned by the HDP in a statement on Wednesday evening. “We repeat our call for the bloodshed and violence to be halted immediately and for steps to be taken to solve our problems by talking and negotiations,” it said.

HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas subsequently said Bayik’s statement was wrong and called for the PKK to boost its efforts for peace.

President Tayyip Erdogan accuses the HDP of being a political extension of the PKK and has spearheaded a parliamentary move to lift the immunity from prosecution of HDP deputies.

The HDP denies direct links with the autonomy-seeking PKK and promotes a negotiated end to the insurgency that has killed 40,000 people, mostly Kurds. The PKK is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Patrick Markey and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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