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90 including 4 Kurdish journalists detained over alleged PKK links

The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 151 people including journalists in operations targeting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its umbrella organization, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), news website Gazete Duvar reported.

According to the report, 90 people including journalists Abdurrahman Gök, Esra Solin Dal, Kibriye Evren, Semiha Alankuş and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Democratic Regions Party (DBP) members in early morning operations in 9 provinces across Turkey. Over 300 HDP members have been detained in a week, report said.

The Turkish Interior Ministry on Friday announced that 88 people have been detained in operations targeting the PKK and KCK.

New operations came two days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would appoint trusties to municipalities in which anyone linked with the PKK is elected as mayor in local elections in March 2019.

Erdoğan on Sunday also said they would “never accept the HDP as an interlocutor until they sever ties with the terrorist organization.’

“What was said yesterday was a declaration of the uselessness of Turkey’s Supreme Election Board [YSK], Constitution and Constitutional Court,” HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen said on Monday.

The Turkish government has appointed trustees to 94 of 102 municipalities run by the DBP and the HDP and arrested 93 mayors and 81 council members across southern Turkey over alleged terrorism links since Sept. 11, 2016. More than 2,000 people have been dismissed by trustees from their municipal jobs.

The PKK, which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast for more than three decades, is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.

Many HDP deputies including the party’s former co-chairpersons and local politicians are facing terror charges and are jailed due to an ongoing government crackdown on Kurdish politicians in the country.

The HDP remains the second largest opposition party in Turkey’s newly restructured, 600-member parliament.