In Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern city of Diyarbakır (Amed), the chief prosecutor’s office issued arrest warrants for 216 people, including journalists, rights defenders, lawyers and politicians, as part of an investigation that triggered Tuesday’s raids and detentions in 21 provinces. The operations came just three weeks before pivotal elections in May.
Here are today’s developments regarding Turkey’s pre-election wave of arrests.
*Updated at 10:40 pm (CET)
Court sends Kurdish mother to prison
Halise Aksoy, a Kurdish mother to whom a prosecutor delivered the remains of her deceased guerrilla son in a shipping box in 2020, has been sent to prison today.
Aksoy and her daughter Mizgin Karataş were detained in raids in Diyarbakır on Tuesday. Karataş has been sent to prison awaiting trial as well.
Aksoy’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrilla son was killed in a clash in 2017, three years before his remains were sent to his mother by courier.
Number of detentions rises to 143
With further arrests on Friday, the number of detentions has risen to 143.
Courts sent 11 people to prison on Friday. So far 39 people have been sent to prison and 44 people have been released.
Police arrest journalist in quake-hit Adıyaman
According to official announcements, 128 people were detained on the first day of the operations. As there are still many people with arrest warrants, the number of detentions continues to increase. At least one more person was arrested in Diyarbakır on Thursday.
Journalist Kadir Bayram was detained while reporting on news in a tent city in Adıyaman (Semsûr), one of the provinces devastated by the 6 February earthquakes.
Amed City Theatre artists released
The number of those who have been sent to prison awaiting trial is increasing. As of Friday morning, the court has sent 28 people to prison and released 31 with judicial control measures.
Actors from the Amed City Theatre who were detained in Tuesday’s raids have been released, the theatre announced on Twitter.
Calls for solidarity
Trade unions and professional associations, as well as some opposition politicians, called for support on Thursday when a court sent four journalists to prison. Press and Media Workers (Basın-İş) called for an “end to the silence” and “solidarity for the journalists in their struggle for the right to information”.
Labour Party (EMEP) Chairman Ercüment Akdeniz addressed the opposition in Turkey: “How will ballot security be ensured without defending the people’s right to information, without protecting the free press and Kurdish journalists?”
The Union of Turkish Bar Associations’ (TBB) chairman and the heads of bar associations from several cities raised their concerns in a press statement on Thursday, saying that the detentions, including the arrests of 25 lawyers, were not in accordance with the law.