Turkey: 20 detained in raids targeting PKK militants

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish police have detained some 20 people in raids against suspected Kurdish militants, including three top local officials of the country’s pro-Kurdish party, the state-run news agency reported Friday.

Separately, Ozturk Turkdogan, the chairman of Turkey’s Human Rights Association, IHD, was also detained in Ankara following a raid on his home, the association announced on Twitter.

The raids in Ankara and Istanbul came days after a top prosecutor filed a case with Turkey’s highest court seeking to disband the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, accusing it of ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The European Union and the United States criticized the move, saying it would violate the rights of millions of HDP voters in Turkey.

The Anadolu Agency said anti-terrorism police carried out simultaneous raids in four Istanbul districts early on Friday, detaining 10 people suspected of engaging in “acts on behalf of the PKK.”

Ten other people were detained in Ankara, where the raids focused on a PKK-linked group suspected of coordinating the militants’ actions, according to Anadolu.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

It was not immediately known why Turkdogan, a top human rights activist who was involved in failed peace talks with the PKK between 2013 and 2015, was detained. IHD said its lawyer were trying to obtain information about his case.

“His arrest is a blatant human rights violation,” the IHD stated on Twitter. “He must be released now.”

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