Three weeks before the elections, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the arrest of at least 110 people in an alleged “anti-terrorist” operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The pro-Kurdish associations accuse him of wanting to manipulate the elections.
Turkish police have carried out simultaneous arrests this morning in 21 provinces of Turkey, including Diyarbakir, in the southeast, the capital of Turkish Kurdistan. According to the Diyarbakir Bar Association, the scale of the arrests is unprecedented.
The association warns that “the total number of arrests could reach 150,” including at least “twenty lawyers, five journalists, three theater actors and one politician.”
The operation appears to be an intimidation of Kurdish voters
The president of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, Nahit Eren, also criticizes that it is an “attempt to intimidate Kurdish voters” in view of the disputed elections on May 14. “We cannot say that this is an independent operation disconnected from the country’s political agenda. The operation appears to be an intimidation of Kurdish voters, ”he said in statements to Agence France Press.
According to the public television channel TRT, the detainees are suspected of having financed the PKK, which Ankara and its Western partners consider a terrorist organization, or of having recruited new members of the party.
The support of the HDP to the opposition will be decisive in the elections
Those arrested would have transferred money to the PKK through companies that operate from municipalities where the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the main pro-Kurdish party in Turkey, governs, according to the television channel.
The HDP has denounced on social networks the intention of the “regime” to influence the results of the elections, since among the detainees are “lawyers who could monitor electoral security, independent journalists who can denounce electoral fraud, campaign managers of the Green Left Party, and printing press owners who collaborate with electoral campaigns”.
Elections on May 14 in Turkey could unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power, where he has been for two decades.
The opposition, headed by Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, presents itself in a united front made up of six parties, and the support of the HDP – which is the third largest political force in the country and which has promised its vote – will be decisive in deciding the next president.
The main figure and vice president of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas, has been imprisoned since 2016 on charges of “terrorist propaganda”. In addition, the party is under threat of closure, accused of being “organically” linked to the PKK.