ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkish police on Monday arrested three citizens who were carrying Kurdistan flags during May Day celebrations in Istanbul.
The flag holders were marching toward a square in central Bakirkoy district where celebrations were taking place, said Kurdistan24's Istanbul bureau.
The detainees were members of Kurdistan Socialist Party (PSK) and chanted slogans "Free Kurdistan," said a Kurdistan24 reporter.
A scuffle occurred during the arrests as police opened fire into the air.
The left-wing, 40-years-old party has unsuccessfully tried to get into the legal sphere of politics in Turkey.
In other developments during May Day in Istanbul, police fired tear gas and water cannon and detained more than 200 other people, according to the governor's office.
The Kurdistan flag is not illegal in Turkey, as officials have hoisted it at airports in Istanbul and Ankara as well as the Prime Minister's office during visits by the President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani.
But the Turkish bureaucracy and public remain overly sensitive to the word "Kurdistan," and the tri-colored Kurdistan flag which in some cases they readily associate with "treason and terrorism."
A fortnight ago, police in the northwestern city of Bursa arrested a man for wearing a t-shirt with the word "Kurdistan."
The man charged with disseminating propaganda for a "terrorist" organization was going to a polling station to cast his vote in the April 16 referendum on extending President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers.
Last January, a pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Sibel Yigitalp's utterance of the word "Kurdistan" caused an uproar and a heated debate at the Turkish Parliament.
Before that, in December 2016 a man who murdered a woman in the Mediterranean city of Adana defended himself in front of prosecutors, claiming he committed the crime because his victim had said, "we will found Kurdistan."
In February, a Turkish court in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir dissolved a businessmen's fraternity for having the word "Kurdistan" in its name and sentenced its chairperson to ten months in prison.
Editing by Ava Homa