The police detained dozens of individuals in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority districts on Sunday and Monday in what appears to be a pre-emptive move before the 23rd anniversary of the abduction and incarceration of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).
Twenty-seven people have been taken into custody in the city of Diyarbakır (Amed).
Halime Işık, one of the Peace Mothers [a campaign group of activists, many of whom have lost children in the war, calling for peace between Turkey and the Kurds], was detained in the city of Mardin two days after she was discharged from hospital following a surgical operation.
Nine individuals, including four Peace Mothers and a former branch co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), were detained in the province of Siirt (Sêrt). The four-year old daughter of one of the detainees, Kanite Dayan, is reported to have been taken to the police station alongside her mother. Before she was taken back home by grandmother, the police allegedly told her, “Your mother has behaved badly. If you do the same we’ll put you in prison too.”
Doors to houses were broken down and in some cases people were held at gun point as fourteen people were detained in house raids in the southern province of Adana.
Forty-three were detained in Mersin, a southern province with a large Kurdish population.
An unspecified number of people were detained in the city of Şırnak (Sirnex) and provincial districts, including the journalist Zeynep Durgut.
Two members of the youth branch of the HDP were taken into custody in the city of Batman (Êlih).
Twenty-four were detained in the province of Van (Wan) including four members of the HDP’s youth branch.
At least six were detained in the city of Diyadin (Giyadîn) in the eastern province of Ağrı (Agırî).
There were also raids in some western provinces. Two co-chairs and two party members of the Turgutlu branch of the HDP were detained in that city.
An unspecified number of Kurdish activists have been detained in the cities of Izmir and Istanbul.
The PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was abducted on 15 February 1999 in Kenya by the intelligence agencies of Turkey and the United States, in a covert operation that indirectly involved officials of other states as well. He has been imprisoned under strict conditions of solitary confinement on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara for 23 years.