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Nov 04 2018

Pro-Kurdish party holds Turkey-wide protest on second anniversary of deputy arrests

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Sunday held a protest throughout the country against the detention and arrest of 6,000 members of the party, independent news site Diken reported.

The HDP protest arrives on the second anniversary of the arrest of 11 HDP deputies on terror charges for their alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been in war in Turkey for over three decades.

Almost one in three members of Turkey’s top Kurdish political party have been detained since the ceasefire between Kurdish militants and the Turkish state collapsed in July 2015.

Among those arrested were 43 HDP provincial co-chairs and 101 HDP district co-chairs, as well as former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who remain in jail facing hundreds of years' worth of terror charges.

HDP co-chair Sezai Temelli, who held a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Ankara, highlighted that around 6000 members of the HDP are currently behind bars, Diken reported.

A total of 53 HDP mayors are still under arrest, Temelli added, while recalling that the government had appointed administrators (kayyim) to 96 municipalities in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern provinces.

Speaking at the party’s gathering in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, HDP deputy Hişyar Özsoy recalled that nine of the 11 deputies arrested on Nov.4, 2016 are still behind bars.

“At a time when the space for democratic struggle is being destroyed by political operations and illegal practices, we continue to strive towards show that these attacks are futile,’’ Özsoy said.

HDP, which is gearing up for the March 2019 local elections, managed to pass the 10 percent threshold for entering parliament in June, winning 11.7 percent of the vote (67 seats) in the country’s June parliamentary elections.