Turkey continues to detain hundreds in 'terror' probes

AP News
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Posted: Dec 13, 2016 12:38 PM
Turkey continues to detain hundreds in 'terror' probes

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey on Tuesday continued to round up people accused of involvement in an armed Kurdish movement labeled as a terrorist organization in the country.

Turkey's Interior Ministry said 568 people have been detained across 28 cities since Monday on account of their alleged affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

Earlier, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported that two lawmakers of the People's Democratic Party, or HDP, have been taken into custody in Ankara, the capital. It said they were detained within the scope of two separate terror-related investigations in the southeastern cities of Batman and Diyarbakir.

Among those detained in the latest security sweeps were HDP officials from seven different cities, according to the interior ministry.

The private Dogan news agency, meanwhile, reported that 8 HDP officials would stand trial on terror charges.

HDP lawmakers and officials have been a focal point of the latest wave of arrests, which comes in the wake of twin bombings in Istanbul, and in a wider security crackdown following of a failed coup in July.

Turkish authorities, in a charge led by the president, accuse the HDP of supporting terrorism and having ties to the PKK.

The HDP, whose two leaders are already behind bars, insists it is a separate organization and has spoken out against attacks in Turkey.

Saturday's bombings and two other suicide attacks that hit Ankara earlier this year have been claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons.

The Turkey-based group, also known as TAK and considered by authorities and many analysts as an offshoot of the PKK, describes these attacks as retribution for state violence in the southeast. The predominantly Kurdish region has witnessed increased conflict between Turkey's security forces and Kurdish militants.

Turkey is currently under a state of emergency which extended pre-trial detention from four to 30 days.

Turkish authorities have arrested almost 38,000 people and purged more than 100,000 others from government jobs since the thwarted coup.