A wave of detentions of political activists and human rights defenders in the early hours of this morning in Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey have followed the legal attempts that have been made to shut down the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
During the dawn house raids, many political activists – mostly the members of the HDP and human rights defenders – were detained by the police in the Turkish capital and Istanbul. It was reported that the police broke down the doors of their homes.
The Chair of the Turkey’s Human Rights Association has been detained
Öztürk Türkdoğan, the Chair of the Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD), was one of the people detained in the dawn raids. His home in Ankara was raided by the anti-terror police.
Türkdoğan – a prominent human rights defender and lawyer – has recently been the target of a smear campaign by Turkey’s Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu, following Turkey’s recent cross-border operation in Iraq. In a parliamentary speech, Soylu had cursed the IHD, blaming the leading human rights organisation in the country of “remaining silent against terrorism”.
“First of all, we have always condemned attacks on civilians, no matter who does it. Apparently, the minister has not been reading our statements”, Türkdoğan had replied to the accusations, in response to Soylu’s statements.
Detentions in Ankara
During the house raids in Ankara, at least 10 members of the HDP were reportedly detained. Those detained include Zeyno Bayramoğlu, the Spokesperson of the HDP’s Ankara Women’s Council and Şükriye Ercan, the Co-Chair of the HDP’s Eskişehir Bureau.
Warrant for 15 HDP members in Istanbul
Ten people were reportedly detained during house raids in Istanbul. Those detained included the HDP members Bediye Demir, Ayhan Yıldız and Remziye Bor. It has been reported that the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 15 HDP members.