More than 400 detained since Turkey’s Erdoğan’s judicial reform announcement
At least 415 people have been detained and 11 of them arrested in operations focusing on opposition parties and civil society bodies since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan heralded judiciary reforms earlier this month, Mezopotamya agency reported on Saturday.
A total of 155 people have been detained and seven arrested in the Kurdish-majority eastern and southeastern Diyarbakır, Batman, Bingöl, Dersim and Siirt provinces, since Nov. 11, according to Mezopotamya.
Erdoğan on Nov. 13 pledged a new reform period that would emphasise a human rights action plan, in addition to other reforms targeting the country’s hard-hit economy.
The mayor of Diyarbakır’s historic Sur district Cemal Özdemir, elected from the pro-Kurdish left-wing opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was arrested on Nov. 16.
A court in Diyarbakır issued arrest warrants for 101 people affiliated with the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK), including lawyers and journalists, on Nov. 20.
Five out of 75 people detained in a separate investigation into DTK were arrested on Nov. 23.
A woman named Suna Balta was detained after a group protesting the HDP by the party’s Diyarbakır headquarters shouted insults at her on Nov. 24. She was released shortly after.
Five board members at Diyarbakır’s Chamber of Architects were detained on Nov. 27, while 15 others were detained in house raids in Batman and city council member Cemile Altan was detained in Siirt on the same day.
In the vicinity of the eastern Van province, 25 people were detained overall, while Mezopotamya reporter Dindar Karataş was arrested on Nov. 26. Two of the 25 people were also arrested.
Two people were arrested in Erzurum on Nov. 12, while 10 people were detained in Van on Nov. 16.
In Bitlis, five people were detained in house raids on Nov. 24 while nine people were detained in house raids in Van on Nov. 27.
In the western Istanbul, Bursa and Izmit provinces, 171 people were taken into police custoday, including politicians, lawyers and rights defenders.
HDP officials and members of the Prisoners’ Families Solidarity Association (TUAY-DER) had their homes raided on Nov. 18, when a district co-chair of the HDP and officials from the association were detained.
Another six people were detained in a house raid in Bursa’s Yıldırım district on Nov. 20.
Police raided the home of lawyer Aytaç Ünsal in Istanbul’s Armutlu neighbourhood, where the lawyer had been on a hunger strike for more than 200 days demanding a fair trial. Five people were detained from some 30 addresses that were raided.
Twenty two HDP members, including provincial co-chairs Erdal Avcı and Elif Bulut, were detained in a police intervention on a demonstration against DTK detentions on Nov. 22.
On Nov. 24, 109 metal workers who were unlawfully fired from their jobs in Izmit were detained after their group was stopped by the police as they started a march to the capital.
The next day, three lawyers were detained in Bursa, to be released days later.
On Nov. 26, 20 people were detained in simultaneous police raids in 15 districts of Istanbul.
Eleven people were detained in Mardin since Erdoğan’s announcement, including HDP politicians in simultaneous raids on Friday. One person was arrested in Şırnak, where a total of 14 were detained within the same time frame.
Fifteen people were detained in the southern Adana, Mersin and Antalya provinces, with one man arrested in Antalya.
On Friday, seven people were detained in the capital Ankara, and 17 in Izmir, including a 73-year-old man.
Meanwhile,Mezopotamya’s Ankara reporter Hakan Yalçın remains in police custody, while JinNews editor Roza Metina was detained and released, Kesire Önel held in detention, and and Davut Uçar was released after testifying since the announced reforms.