Kurdish party calls for release of senior politician in Turkey

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HDP supporters in Izmir. Fie photo

ARA News 

ANKARA – Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Assistant Co-Chair Alp Altınörs continue to be detained by the Turkish authorities “on illegal grounds”, the pro-Kurdish party said. 

“Our Central Executive Committee member and Deputy Co-chair in Charge of Expansion Alp Altınörs was detained after a raid on his house the night of September 9,” the HDP said in a statement.

“His being unlawfully arrested on grounds attending the funeral of Zakir Karabulut (26), who lost his life in the massacre of October 10, 2015 in Ankara is a blow against democratic politics,” the party said.  

On 10 October 2015, two bombs killed 103 civilians, targeting a peace rally by Turkish trade unions and the HDP. The attack was most likely carried out by Islamic State militants, and HDP said it was possible the Turkish government was involved.

“What is necessary is that the actual culprits of the October 10th Ankara Massacre be tried, but this is not being done. Instead, politicians who attended the funerals of the suicide-bomb victims are being put on trial,” the HDP said.

“The proposals to set up a commission to investigate the massacre are rejected by AKP votes. All this speaks a lot about the mindset that produced the secret witness whose groundless claims and fabricated stories are being presented as the alleged pretexts of Alp Altınörs’ arrest. We know this mindset all too well,” the HDP added.

The pro-Kurdish HDP condemned the arrest through secret witnesses, and said they will continue their struggle.

“The government wants to make it a crime to attend public funerals and act in solidarity with our fellow citizens. We will never accept this,” the HDP said. “We expect an immediate rescindment of this unlawful and unjust arrest ruling and correction of this mistake.” 

Violence and tensions have increased in Turkey after a ceasefire agreement broke down in July 2015.

In 2013, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish government launched peace talks to stop the violence, but the talks broke down in July 2015, after an ISIS suicide attack killed dozens of Kurds in the town of Suruc.

The PKK blamed the attack on the government, and the same day PKK rebels killed 23-year old Müsellim Ünal, a corporal in the Turkish military.

Imprisoned PKK-leader Abdullah Ocalan last week said that the three-decades conflict could be solved within six months, if Turkey would resume the peace talks. However, Turkish leaders have vowed to eliminate the PKK.

The Turkish government said it launched the largest operation against the PKK after the failed military coup and suspended 11,285 teachers for alleged links to the PKK. Moreover, Turkey removed dozens of elected Kurdish mayors, which raised concerns in Washington.

“We hope that any appointment of trustees will be temporary and that local citizens will soon be permitted to choose new local officials in accordance with Turkish law,” the U.S. embassy said in a statement on Sept 11.

Source: ARA News

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