Turkish police detain dozens of pro-Kurdish HDP youth council members

Turkish police have detained 29 members of the country’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Youth Council since Friday, the council said on Saturday.

The arrests, which include three members of the council’s executive board and 26 members of the council, took place during home raids in multiple provinces Friday and Saturday, it said.

Arrest warrants have been issued for another 45 people in the scope of the same operation.

Ankara has intensified a crackdown on the Kurdish political movement since peace talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) broke down in 2015. HDP lawmakers and mayors have frequently been dismissed from their roles or faced legal charges for alleged PKK links in the years since.

The party’s former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ were arrested on terror charges in 2016. 

A total of 16 HDP mayors have been dismissed and replaced with a government appointee since the local elections in March.

HDP Youth Council Member Gülistan Yiğit, who was detained in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, was subject to naked search and torture, the council said on Twitter.

The council has called for the immediate release of those arrested and vowed that it would not be intimidated by the Turkish government.

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