12/12/2016, 10.26
TURKEY
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Attack in Istanbul: Turkish authorities arrest more than 100 members of the pro-Kurdish party

Among those arrested the leaders of the pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP Istanbul and Ankara. 38 people were killed in the attack claimed by Tak, a splinter faction of the PKK, including 30 policemen. Behind the attack, Turkish military operations in the south-east of the country, a predominantly Kurdish area. The condemnation of the UN, NATO and the EU.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Turkish authorities have arrested more than 100 people belonging to the main pro-Kurdish party in the country, in response to the double attack of December 10 last that killed 38 people.

The pro-government agency Anadolu, reports that among those arrested are representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) from all over Turkey. These include the head of the Istanbul section of the HDP, Aysel Guzel, and his Ankara counterpart Ibrahim Binici.

The arrests are a first, very tough response of the government and the Turkish judiciary against the Kurds following the attack two nights ago in the heart of Istanbul. The "hunt against the Kurds" does not differentiate between terrorist groups and peaceful citizens.

The gesture, claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (Tak), a splinter faction of the Kurdistan Workers Party  (PKK, banned in Turkey) has killed 38 people, including 30 policemen, who were the target of the attack and injured more than 150 people.

In an official statement Tak leaders claim that two militants died in the attack, but did not make clear if both were suicide bombers. The gesture is in protest against the military operations of Ankara in the predominantly Kurdish areas of the country, in the southeast, and the imprisonment of PKK leader Ocalan Abdulalh.

According to the investigators, the first explosion occurred around 22.30 at the passage of a bus carrying policemen in riot gear, responsible for safety in the vicinity of the Vodafone Arena. The game between the home team Besiktas (traditionally opposed to the establishment and in the front row in the protests against Erdogan, then prime minister, in 2013) and rivals Bursaspor had just ended in the stadium.

A few minutes later a suicide bomber detonated in the nearby Macka park.

The Turkish authorities yesterday observed a day of national mourning and celebrated the first funerals of the victims. Thousands of people gathered near the stadium to protest against the attack on which Ankara has imposed censorship, preventing the media and social networks from publishing news or images.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who yesterday chaired a meeting of the Security Council, defines the attack "the most odious manifestation of terrorism." The attackers struck between the famous Taksim Square (the heart of the revolt in 2013) and the old Dolmabahçe Palace, in the European area of ​​the megalopolis.

The explosions, he added, "were aimed to cause the highest number of victims." During the funeral of one of the policemen killed Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu defined the PKK members "animals" and "pawns" of Western countries.

The Kurdish movement Tak has already hit three times this year: twice in Ankara (17 February, 28 dead) and March 13 (34 victims) and once in Istanbul, June 7 (11 deaths) . In the early hours of the attack the Kurdish authorities had accused the PKK, who have led their bloody separatist struggle for over 30 years.

Many messages of condolence and solidarity have arrived from the international community, including the leaders of the United Nations of the Atlantic Alliance (NATO). It was also condemned by EU leaders - who have held back on the entry of Ankara into the EU because of the authoritarian clamp down launched by Erdogan in response to the (failed) coup in Turkey last July. Brussels has promised to work "closely" with Turkey in the fight against terrorism.

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