Turkey arrests 100 over Kurdish rebel links

AFP , Monday 13 Feb 2012

Police raid offices and homes, arrest upwards of 100 people across Turkey in operation targeting union leaders, activists over their links to Kurdistan Workers' Party

Turkish police made around 100 arrests on Monday in a major new nationwide operation targeting union leaders and activists over their links to Kurdish rebels, television channels reported.

Police raided offices and homes in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, NTV and CNN-Turk reported. Raids also took place in six other cities.

The operation was part of a wider legal offensive against the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), a union regarded by the authorities in Ankara as the political wing of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Many of those who were arrested had been involved in cases defending the rights of Kurdish municipal workers, the reports said.

Ankara says that the KCK wants to replace Turkish government institutions in the southeastern Anatolia region, which is majority Kurd, with its own political structures. Turkey regards the PKK as a terrorist organisation, as does the European Union and United States.

Since 2009, some 700 people have been arrested over alleged links to the KCK, according to government figures. Kurdish media puts the figure at around 3,500.


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