Early morning police raids in at least nine cities across Turkey have targeted opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) officials ahead of 21 March celebrations of the spring equinox, also viewed as a new year by Kurds.
More than a hundred people, including party officials, organisers of Newroz celebrations and a journalist, were detained in concurrent house raids in Antalya, Adana, Istanbul, Izmir, Hatay, Mardin, Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep and Adiyaman, reported Dihaber News Agency.
The detainments come following a statement by Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Tuesday.
According to the HDP at least 2,500 party officials and members have been imprisoned since a return to clashes between Turkish security forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Meanwhile at least 2,000 DBP members have also been imprisoned.
The timing of detainments ahead of Newroz celebrations have led to some saying it is to prevent Newroz, a measure taken by the Turkish government in the 90s, at the height of the war.