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Iran Press TV

Turkey arrests 235 people, including pro-Kurdish party officials

Iran Press TV

Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:37AM

Turkish security forces have arrested nearly 240 people, many of them members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), over alleged links to Kurdish militants.

Turkey's Interior Ministry said the Monday detentions were made across 11 provinces, adding that the 235 people were held on charges of "spreading terror group propaganda" over social media and acting on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group.

Among those arrested were nearly 120 officials of the HDP, the second-largest opposition party in the Turkish parliament.

The arrests of officials from the HDP came after an offshoot of the PKK claimed responsibility for twin bombings outside an Istanbul soccer stadium that left 38 people dead and 155 others wounded on Sunday.

Twenty HDP officials were arrested in Istanbul, including the party's provincial head, and 18 were apprehended in the capital Ankara.

In the heavily-Kurdish-populated southern city of Adana, about 500 police officers, backed by armored vehicles and a helicopter, launched a vast operation to detain 25 HDP officials.

Over 50 people connected to HDP were also detained in the southern city of Mersin, and five in the northwestern province of Manisa.

The main leaders of HDP have already been jailed pending trial over alleged ties to the PKK militants.

Turkey accuses the HDP of being the political arm of the armed militant group.

In a related development, Turkish jets carried out airstrikes against what were said to be PKK bases in northern Iraq, flattening the militants' headquarters, its surrounding gun positions and shelters, according to an army statement.

Ankara has designated the PKK a terrorist group and has been engaged in a large-scale campaign against its members in Turkey's southern border region over the past few months. The Turkish military has also been pounding the group's alleged positions in Iraq and Syria in breach of the Arab countries' sovereignty.

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