Provincial heads of pro-Kurdish HDP among 8 detained over terror links in eastern Turkey

Turkish police in the country’s eastern province of Tunceli on Sunday detained eight people over terror links, including provincial co-chairs of the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

HDP’s provincial co-chairs for Tunceli, Hıdır Çiçek, Özlem Toprak and HDP council member Ferhat Yıldız were among those taken into police custody over charges of conducting propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

The PKK has been fighting an armed insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984 and is labelled a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union. Ankara accuses the HDP of being the political wing of the outlawed organisation. 

The detentions follow an investigation by the Tunceli Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on conducting terror propaganda and illegal activities on behalf the PKK, Cumhuriyet said. 

Following the 2015 collapse of a peace process between the AKP government and the PKK, Ankara has intensified a crackdown on the HDP.

Numerous HDP officials remain behind bars, including the pro-Kurdish party’s former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.