Turkish police arrest 14 politicians, union representatives on terror charges

Turkish police have arrested 14 politicians and union representatives on charges of membership in a terrorist organisation, Evrensel newspaper reported on Monday.

The 14 are among 19 people taken into police custody in southeastern Diyrakbakır province-based raids carried out across five cities between November 8-9, the newspaper said.

The detainees include five district officials of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), members of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and the Kurdistan Socialist Party (PSK), and local officials with the Health and Social Service Workers Union (SES) and educational union, Eğitim-Sen, among others.

Evidence for terror charges against the detainees includes alleged participation in protests against sacked HDP officials and press statements in solidarity with detained members of Eğitim-Sen Union, the newspaper said.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for four decades. The HDP denies the charges.

Ankara has intensified a crackdown on the HDP  since 2016, during which a majority of its elected mayors have been dismissed and replaced by government-appointed trustees.

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