Feb 22 2018

Civil rights group chair arrested in Turkey for criticising Syria operation

Turkish police arrested 11 people on Thursday, including Dilşat Aktaş, co-chair of an organisation that campaigns for civil rights for criticising Turkey’s ongoing offensive against the Kurdish-held Syrian enclave of Afrin, the capital’s chief prosecutor said in a statement.

Since the launch of Turkey’s incursion into Afrin on Jan. 20, hundreds have been arrested for comments on social media critical of the operation. More than 150 were detained in the last week of January alone.

The organisation Halkevleri, which Aktaş co-chairs, said it had stood up to Turkey’s rulers during times of military rule and would not be cowed.

“Halkevleri has 86 years of honourable history. Our people will not give up defending our history and building our future with our own hands,” it said in a statement. “Halkevleri are the people and the country. You cannot silence the people and you cannot silence the country.”