Dozens of ‘No’ campaigners detained ahead of Turkey’s referendum

'No' campaigners distribute leaflets ahead of the constitutional referendum in Turkey, (Photo: Dihaber)

Dozens of political activists organising the campaign against constitutional reform in Turkey were detained in coordinated police operations in several cities on Wednesday morning, Dihaber News Agency reported.

20 houses raided in Adana

At least 20 houses were raided in southern city Adana with the operation mainly targeting the left-wing Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP).

Mehmet Atas, the father of Eylem Atas, who was killed in Syria fighting the Islamic State last year was also detained alongside 15 others.

Students detained in Mersin

At least 15 people were also detained in morning raids in neighbouring city Mersin. The majority of those taken into custody are thought to be students.

Operation in Hatay ahead of Erdogan visit

At least eight people from three different organisations were detained in southern province Hatay, on the Syria border.

The detentions came days before President Erdogan’s campaign rally in the city.

Father and daughter detained for listening to Kurdish music

A father and daughter were detained after being reported to police for listening to Kurdish music in Istanbul.

Sevim Gorucu and Adil Gorucu were detained in the Esenler district of Istanbul last night after being reported to police. It is not known whether the pair were listening to the Peoples’ Democratic Party campaign song ‘Say No’, which has been banned across Turkey for allegedly inciting “separatism and enmity”.

Large scale operation in Tunceli: 12 imprisoned

More than a dozen people were taken into custody in police operations targeting the ESP yesterday. The detained were taken to the majority Kurdish province Tunceli (Dersim) today to appear in court, including the party’s co-leader, Cicek Otlu.

12 people have been imprisoned pending trial for “aiding a terrorist organisation.”

No campaigners targeted

The government has been criticised by opposition groups for branding ‘No’ voters “terrorists” and employing security forces to prevent activities by those opposing the 18-article reform.

The constitutional referendum to be held on 16 April seeks to transform Turkey into a presidential system. Critics have said the changes will concentrate power in the hands of President Erdogan and do away with the separation of powers and weaken parliament.

The ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party and Erdogan have argued that the changes will bring stability to the country.