Turkish police arrest Peoples’ Democratic Party advisors amidst ongoing crackdown

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Turkish security forces. File photo

ARA News

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) reported on Friday that Turkish police had raided the private residences of six political advisors, arresting five of them. Several of the arrestees are employed as aids to imprisoned Kurdish MPs.

“Early this morning special operations police forces raided the homes of six of our advisors and detained five: Zülküf Kurt, Murat Gökdağ, Olcay Çelik, Muhammed Kaya, Metin Kümek,” the HDP said in a statement.

The arrested party activists have reportedly been denied their judicial right to representation and assistance. “They have been banned from access to legal counsel for five days and restrictions have been imposed on their files,” HDP Deputy co-Chair Hişyar Özsoy said. 

Özsoy pointed out that today’s arrest are not isolated incidents, as they are “coming after the arrest of 10 HDP MPs including our co-Chairs.” The deputy co-chair said that the arrests are another “manifestation of [President] Erdoğan’s aim to obstruct the party’s political work at all levels and by all means.”

“The manner in which these detentions have been carried out should be cause for concern for all who uphold democratic rights and freedoms and believe in […] democratic politics,” Özsoy added.

“Our advisors’ homes were raided in the very early hours of Friday morning. The police broke the doors and conducted illegal searches in the absence of lawyers,” the HDP said. “In the home of Olcay Çelik, the advisor to our co-Chair Figen Yüksekdağ, the policemen kept uttering sexist obscenities and profanities against Ms Yüksekdağ.”

“We would like to underline that we find the state of personal engagement and personal hostility displayed by members of the police force against our party, our members and executives particularly alarming,” the HDP concluded.

The Turkish government began a crackdown against the HDP in early November, arresting the party’s two co-leaders alongside 8 other Kurdish MPs. The MPs are reportedly being held due to their reluctance to provide testimony in “terrorist propaganda” cases.

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