Thousands of pro-Kurdish party members detained in Turkey since 2015 - report

Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki on Thursday said thousands of members of the party have been detained since 2015, Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Following the collapse of a peace process between the AKP government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2015, Turkish authorities have intensified a crackdown on the HDP, which it accuses of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interests of the PKK, an armed group that has been in war in Turkey for over three decades.

16,300 HDP members have been detained and 3,500 of those were imprisoned, Tiryaki said, according to Mezopotamya.

The Turkish police on Wednesday carried out simultaneous raids in several cities across Turkey and detained various people including HDP politicians, trade unionists and human rights activists, the news agency said.

The aim of the detentions was to spread fear to the society and curb the ones who oppose the government, said Selvi Turgut, a member of the Human Rights Association (IHD).

"These practices bring uncertainty. Most of the people were released on probation," Turgut said.

Some 450,000 of HDP members are now on probation and they are banned from travelling abroad and forced to report to police stations, according to Turgut.