Turkey’s crackdown on opposition party members continues: 300 detained [updated]

Early morning police raid (File photo)

Update: The number of people taken into custody in simultaneous house raids across Turkey has risen to 300.

After the detainment of more than 100 opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) party executives and members in the early hours of the morning, mainstream Turkish media has reported the detainment of another 200 people.

35 people were take into custody in western city Izmir, 60 people in southern city Mersin, 26 people in Bursa, 12 people in popular holiday resort Antalya, 11 in Kurdish city Van, 24 in Malatya and 14 people in Diyarbakir’s Bismil district.

The operations, which Kurdish media and organisations say are targeting pro-Kurdish politics ahead of the upcoming constitutional referendum, have been referred to as “anti-terror operations” against the PKK by Turkish officials.

70 people detained in Istanbul

Turkish media reported the detainment of 70 people and said 34 people had arrest warrants issued in several districts of Istanbul. According to reports the raids are ongoing.

The people taken into custody have been transferred to Istanbul Police Headquarters following medical examinations.

According to reports executives of the HDP, DBP, Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK), Education and Science Workers’ Union (Egitim-Sen) and Free Women’s Movement (TJA) are amongst those detained.

Detainments in southern city Adana

26 people were detained by Turkish police following raids targeting HDP members on 30 addresses in southern city Adana. HDP Adana province co-chair Huseyin Beyaz is amongst those detained.

Bingol

Several houses were also raided by police in southeastern Kurdish city Bingol with DBP Party Assembly member Adnan Sari, DBP Municipality Councillor Cihat Yildirim, Province Assembly member Aydin Kaya and party member Ilhan Cakabay also being detained.

Adiyaman

Four people were also detained in southeastern city Adiyaman for social media posts according to local media.

HDP deputy Ahmet Yildirim recently said at least 9,000 party members had been detained in Turkey in the past 18 months and 2,500 arrested and imprisoned.

The Turkish government has been criticised for its crackdown on opposition political parties and organisations following Turkey’s coup attempt, but it says it is fighting “terrorist organisations intent on destabilising the country.”

However critics have pointed out that the HDP is a legitimate party which entered parliament with 10.3% of the popular vote (5 million votes) in the 1 November 2015 election. 12 HDP deputies are behind bars, including the party’s co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.

The DBP meanwhile, in the 2014 local election, won more than a 100 municipalities in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of the country. Most of the municipalities’ mayors have been dismissed and jailed since the July’s coup attempt and replaced by government appointed trustees.