03/19/2021, 10.24
TURKEY
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Istanbul, police raid on Kurdish critics and opponents

At least 10 people were detained in Istanbul. Exponents of the Peoples' Democratic Party are targeted. Process at Constitutional Court over ban on Kurdish education. Its leaders denounce a "political coup". Criticism from the United States and Germany over violation of human rights.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Turkish police have arrested a dozen people, including three prominent officials of the Peoples' Democratic Party (Kurdish HDP), government media in Ankara reported this morning. The raid took place simultaneously with the opening of a process wanted by the authorities to close down the opposition HDP party.

On 17 March, a Turkish public prosecutor opened an investigation file at the Constitutional Court against the Peoples' Democratic Party. The complaint is the culmination of a procedure that has been underway for years with the aim of cancelling the third most important party in the parliamentary sphere.

HDP leaders denounced what they termed a "political coup". The Human Rights Association (Ihd) have also reported the arrest of its president Ozturk Turkdogan. He was taken this morning by the police, who broke into his home. The activist's lawyers are attempting to discover the charges that led to the police arrest.

At the same time, security teams carried out a series of operations in three different districts of Istanbul with the arrest of some high-ranking HDP officials. In total there were at least 15 arrest warrants.

Yesterday, meanwhile, Turkey rejected international criticism (in particular from the United States and Germany) against the attempt to ban the Kurdish opposition party, accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of (alleged) links with "terrorism".

Washington has stated that a possible closure of the party would be a further and very severe blow to democracy in Turkey. The Ankara Foreign Ministry spoke of unacceptable "interference" in internal matters and "pressure on the judiciary".

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