- Title: Turkey detains 235 over Kurdish militant links after Istanbul blasts
- Date: 12th December 2016
- Summary: ANKARA, TURKEY (DECEMBER 12, 2016) (REUTERS) HDP SPOKESMAN, AYHAN BILGEN, WALKING PAST (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) HDP SPOKESMAN, AYHAN BILGEN, SAYING: "They are trying to get public support by trying to link these (detentions) with the bombings in Besiktas. Those who were detained are our provincial senior party managers. Our Istanbul branch was completely ransacked, there were graffiti on the wall. That shows this process is not a legal or judicial one. The detentions in Adana are also very interesting. Our party executives were under house arrest. Now, those who are under house arrests are detained as well. Today more than 237 people were detained in 9 provinces. All of them are representatives of our party who are legally involved in making policy."
- Embargoed: 27th December 2016 16:16
- Keywords: Turkey Kurds security Istanbul bombings HDP detentions PKK
- Location: ANKARA, ISTANBUL, SANLIURFA, TURKEY
- City: ANKARA, ISTANBUL, SANLIURFA, TURKEY
- Country: Turkey
- Reuters ID: LVA0025CKXXL3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Turkey detained 235 people over alleged links to Kurdish militants in nationwide raids on Monday (December 12), two days after twin bombings killed 44 people and wounded about 150 outside an Istanbul soccer stadium the interior ministry said in a written statement.
The interior ministry said Monday's detentions were made across 11 provinces from northwest to southeast Turkey and that the 235 people were held on charges of "spreading terror group propaganda" over social media and acting on behalf of the PKK.
Many of those detained are members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), parliament's second-biggest opposition grouping, which President Tayyip Erdogan and the government accuse of links to the PKK.
A spokesman for HDP, Ayhan Bilgen, gave the number of people under detention as 237. He said they were detained in raids in 9 provinces.
The raids came after Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu vowed those responsible for Saturday's attacks, claimed by an offshoot of the PKK militant group, would be "wiped from this geography".
The HDP's leaders and several thousand of its members have been arrested pending trial over the past year, drawing criticism from Western allies.
The HDP, which last year became the first Kurdish party to enter parliament, denies direct links to militants.
Around dawn, about 500 police, backed by armoured vehicles and a helicopter, launched an operation in the southern city of Adana and detained 25 HDP officials there, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
Counter-terror police in Istanbul separately took into custody 20 HDP officials, including its provincial head, and carried out searches including the party's main offices in the city, Anadolu said. The top HDP official in Ankara was among 17 people from the party held in raids there.
The PKK, which took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and is fighting for Kurdish autonomy, is deemed a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union, as well as by Turkey. Saturday's attack was one of the deadliest claimed by Kurdish militants for decades.
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