11/04/2016, 10.20
TURKEY
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Explosion in Diyarbakir after the arrest of two pro-Kurdish leaders


At least 20 wounded in the blast, two of them seriously. The explosion occurred near a police station in the Baglar district. Earlier the security forces had arrested Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag. State of emergency extended. Arrest warrant for 137 university professors, suspected of ties with the Islamic preacher Gülen.


 

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) – At least 20 people were injured in an explosion near a police station in the center of Diyarbakir, in southeastern Turkey, a predominantly Kurdish region. According to Ankara security forces the balst occurred in the early morning today, a few hours after the arrest of the leaders of the most important pro-Kurdish party in the country, along with dozens of other MPs.

Yesterday's campaign of massive arrests targeted the Kurdish community and the leadership, part of the policy of repression launched by the government and the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against (alleged) perpetrators and supporters of the (failed) coup in Turkey last July.

Local sources said that the blast occurred in the Baglar district and several ambulances have rushed to the scene. At present there is no more information on the nature of the blast (suspected car bomb) or perpetrators with no official claims. Among the wounded, at least two are in a serious condition.

Earlier the police had detained Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the Democratic Party of the Peoples (HDP), while he was in his private residence in Diyarbakir. Ankara also arrested the number two of the party, Figen Yuksekdag. Both are accused of propaganda for the outlawed PKK party and fomenting violence in October 2014, which killed dozens of people.

The HDP is the most important Kurdish political movement and the third parliamentary force with 59 seats.

According to reports from the official Turkish state news agency Anadolu the arrest of two senior Kurdish officials is part of the massive campaign of repression promoted by the Turkish authorities, that in little more than three months led to the arrest of 37 thousand people and a total number of about 100 thousand between suspects and those suspended from duty.

During the hectic night of the failed coup between July 15 and 16 270 people were killed, thousands wounded.

Since then government leaders and President Erdogan have launched a campaign of purges against intellectuals personalities, political, military and administrative authorities considered close to Fethullah Gülen, who has always denied any involvement in the operations. The crackdown has also involved journalists, media close to the opposition, teachers and administrative staff.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government confirmed a state of emergency in the country, imposed in the aftermath of the failed coup. The law allows arbitrary arrests without prior warrant. Turkish president Erdogan has also enacted these special laws without having to go through Parliament for approval.

The crackdown has also hit members of the press, teachers and intellectuals. November 1, police arrested 13 journalists - including the director – of the main opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet. The day after the Turkish authorities have issued an arrest warrant for 137 university professors, suspected of ties and sympathies with the Islamic preacher Gülen and his movement.

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