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Istanbul police raid district office of pro-Kurdish opposition party

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkish police block the street as anti-terrorist officers search the Beyoglu headquarters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Istanbul, January 8, 2016. (AFP Photo)

Police in Istanbul have raided a district office of Turkey’s main opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

Turkish media reports said on Friday that several people were detained and party documents seized during the two-hour raid at the Beyoglu headquarters of the HDP.

The co-chair of the district branch, Rukiye Demir, was among the detainees.

Turkish authorities have stepped up pressure on the HDP while Ankara’s military apparatus has been engaged in a security operation against suspected militants in the Kurdish-majority south and southeast of the country in the recent past, running offensives against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants all the way into northern Iraq.

Turkish authorities accuse the HDP of acting as the political arm of the PKK.

Turkey and countries such as the United States and Britain consider the PKK as a terrorist group. The HDP strongly denies any links with the militants.

Turkish police block the street as anti-terrorist officers search the Beyoglu headquarters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Istanbul, January 8, 2016. (AFP Photo)

On July 20, 2015, a bomb attack in the southern Kurdish-majority town of Suruc claimed more than 30 lives. The Turkish government blamed it on the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group. After the bombing, the PKK, accusing the government of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of supposed reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, in turn prompting the Turkish military operations.

Ankara said Thursday that 305 PKK militants have been killed since December 14, 2015, when its security operation intensified.

The militant group has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since 1980s.


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