Turkey Arrests Dozens of Members of Pro-Kurdish Party

ANKARA (VOA)–Turkish authorities have rounded up dozens of members of the country’s main pro-Kurdish party, the Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, as part of operation said to be aimed at the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The detentions come after the DTP heavily defeated the ruling AK party in last month’s local elections.

In the early hours Tuesday morning police raided offices and homes of members the pro Kurdish Democratic Society Party or DTP.

Among those detained were 2 deputy leaders of the party. A local TV station was also raided.

Authorities say the raids were aimed at the banned PKK party, which has been seeking greater rights for Turkey’s oppressed Kurdish minority for more than two decades.

Security force officials often accuse the DTP of being a front for the PKK, a charge strongly denied by the party. The leader of the DTP, Ahmet Turk, addressing his parliamentary deputies angrily attacked the raids.

Turk said the operation is a very clear indication of the intolerance of the ruling party to the election results. He says, the operation which aimed at the 4th biggest party in the country is outside the law and outside democracy.

The DTP heavily defeated the ruling AK party in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast of the country, in last month’s nationwide local elections, which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had high hopes of winning.

The rising political tensions and fiery rhetoric against the DTP is a far cry from the beginning of the year when the prime minister proudly launched a state run TV channel devoted to Kurdish. The new broadcast was seen as groundbreaking considering the strict controls on the use of the Kurdish language in Turkey.

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