Pro-Kurdish HDP officials briefly detained in police raid on Istanbul office

Turkish police on Sunday raided a pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) district headquarters in Istanbul, briefly detaining two of the party’s district chairs, Evrensel newspaper reported.

The raid on the Esenyurt district HDP building followed alleged images shared on social media of posters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader in the office, Evrensel said.

The government has long accused the pro-Kurdish HDP of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interest of the PKK), an armed group that has been at war for in Turkey for Kurdish self-rule for almost four decades. The HDP denies the links.

HDP district chairs, Dilan Kılıç and Ercan Sağlam were taken into police custody and released hours later, according to the newspaper.

Ankara has maintained a years-long crackdown on the HDP, detaining at least 20 HDP mayors and taking over municipalities run by the pro-Kurdish party in the country.

Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on Sunday both shared alleged footage from the HDP Esenyurt office on social media of the PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan.

Both officials cited the material as proof that the HDP is lined to the PKK.