Security forces in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s (KRI) Sulaymaniyah province have arrested nine members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in an operation on Thursday, Roj news reported.
The nine HDP members, living in exile in the KRI, had their homes and workplaces raided unlawfully without warrants, HDP said in a joint statement with the Mesopotamian Workers’ Association.
Detainees Hasan Kaçar, Ersoy Yılmaz and Murat Turak have health conditions they need to monitor and treat, the two organisations said. “We still do not know the reason for their detention. Our colleagues have serious health conditions due to the torture they were subjected to in the prisons of the Turkish state, they have chronic conditions and need to take medicine regularly.”
The HDP, Turkey’s third largest parliamentary bloc, has thousands of members and supporters behind bars on terrorism charges, including former MPs and co-chairs. The left-wing pro-Kurdish party is also facing closure, and more than 450 of its top cadres, MPs and officials could be banned from running for office if the Turkish Constitutional Court (AYM) rules that the party is a ‘focus of terrorist activity’ over alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The HDP office in Sulaymaniyah believes Turkey pushed for the arrests and pressured local authorities. Party officials in the KRI say they receive frequent blackmail from Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT).