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 Turkey arrests 70 over alleged ties to Kurdish PKK rebels, KCK

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Turkey arrests 70 over alleged ties to Kurdish PKK rebels, KCK  22.11.2011  

November 22, 2011

ISTANBUL, —  Turkish police arrested more than 70 people in coordinated raids around the country on Tuesday for suspected links to outlawed Kurdish rebels, media reports said.

Lawyers for jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and some members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) were among those arrested, security sources in the southeastern Kurdish province of Diyarbakir said.

Police conducted simultaneous operations in 16 different provinces including Istanbul, Diyarbakir, Ankara and Bursa, media reports said, while the private news channel NTV said more than 70 people had been arrested.

Police also raided the office of Ocalan's lawyers                 

Lawyers for jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan (on poster) were among those arrested, security sources said. Photo: Shwan Mohammed/AFP
in Istanbul, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.

The suspects are accused of having links with the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), which Turkey claims to be the urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Those arrested include 47 of Ocalan's lawyers who had visited him on the prison island of Imrali at various times and are accused of transmitting his orders to the PKK,www.ekurd.net the Anatolia news agency said.

Since 2009, some 700 people have been arrested over their alleged links to the KCK, according to government figures, although the BDP puts the figure at more than 3,500.

Five BDP parliamentarians and two prominent intellectuals -- publisher Ragip Zarakolu and academic Busra Ersanli -- are in custody on the same charges.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this month that his government would not ease its crackdown on the KCK, which Ankara claims wants to replace Turkish government institutions in the southeastern Anatolia region with its own political structures.

Ocalan was jailed for life in 1999, but many Kurds in Turkey still consider him their leader.

KCK-trial, on October 18, 2010 a Turkish court began the trial of 152 high profile Kurdish politicians and rights defenders, accused of being the urban wing of the outlawed separatist Kurdish PKK rebels.

Over 7748 people were taken into custody and 3895 persons were arrested in the scope of KCK operations during the past six months [Till October 2011], the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party announced. Dozens of BDP executives and employees are still in prison.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, AFP | ekurd.net | Agencies


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