Police detain pro-Kurdish HDP chairs in terror probe in southeastern Turkey

Turkish police detained two provincial co-chairs from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as part of a terror investigation in the southeastern province of Batman, A Haber news reported on Saturday.

Ömer Kulpu and Fatma Ablay were detained following a raid of the regional HDP headquarters as part of an investigation launched by the Batman Chief Public Prosecutor’s office, it said.    

Police cited banners of the jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, visible from outside the HDP building, as the reason for the raid, pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Police also found a large number of photographs belonging to PKK members, in addition to banners, banned publications and digital material, the Batman Governor’s Office said. 

The PKK is an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for Kurdish self-rule for over 30 years.

The Turkish government has long accused the HDP of sympathising and acting in the interest of the PKK. Fourty mayors who were elected from the HDP in the March 2019 local election in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority regions have been replaced by government-appointed officials and over a dozen arrested on terrorism-related charges.