Turkish police raid Kurdish Party HQ
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (K24) - Turkish police raided the Diyarbakir (Amed) headquarters of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) on Tuesday and arrested two people.
A K24 correspondent at the scene, just outside the party building said police arrested Zeynep Altunkaya, a member of the DBP executive committee without informing her of the charges and Sakir Karadas, a medical student from Istanbul University, on the grounds of evading army conscription.
Over 100 towns and cities have mayors belonging to the DBP party across Kurdish-majority regions of southeast Turkey (Northern Kurdistan). The DBP is a fraternal party to the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
Police also searched the computers and files in the party's headquarters as masked special forces could be seen manning and securing the streets nearby.
Co-chair of DBP, Kamuran Yuksek accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of targeting his party.
”[The government] wants to [suspend our mayors from duty] and appoint caretakers to our mayoralties. Turkey is taking a dangerous path," Yuksek said.
Meanwhile, a member of Yuksek's party, the co-mayor of Van (Wan), Bekir Kaya was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison, on charges of membership to a terrorist organisation, named as the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK).
Also in Van Province, the co-mayor of the town of Catak (Shax), Evin Keve was arrested in her home by police forces last Sunday. Keve was accused of "disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state" because of remarks on self-rule and autonomy in an interview she gave to the Kurdish Jin News Agency, the Turkish Dogan News Agency reported.
Kurdish political parties and civic organisations called for autonomy in an unprecedented meeting last month in Diyarbakir. Since then, Turkish prosecutors have launched numerous probes into Kurdish politicians, civic leaders, and activists.
Elsewhere, in Mus Province, co-mayor of the town of Bulanik (Kop) and twenty others--mostly DBP members--were arrested on Tuesday, said the Turkish IMC TV channel.
Last week Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals officially urged the DBP to change its party bylaws and programme, alleging that the call for self-rule violated the “unitary structure of the state and the constitutional order.”
The court also reminded the DBP that not complying with Turkey's Constitution could lead to a closure of the party.
Siddiq Eren reported from Diyarbakir. Adnan Gerger contributed to this report from Ankara.