Turkish police raid Kurdish targets

Story highlights

  • Turkish authorities' raids are tied to inquiry into banned Kurdish separatist group
  • Security forces receive information about buried plastic explosives
  • Turkey's main Kurdish political party says its offices were searched
Turkish security forces launched a wave of raids across the country on Friday, searching more than 100 locations and arresting dozens of people.
The raids were carried out in connection with a sprawling investigation into the urban wing of the banned Kurdish separatist movement the Kurdistan Workers Party, according to the semi-official Anatolian Agency.
Anatolian also reported that Turkish police pursued information from a detained Kurdistan Workers Party member about 5 kilograms of C-4 plastic explosives that had been buried near Ataturk Olympic Stadium on the European side of Istanbul.
Fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party have been waging a guerrilla war against the Turkish state since the early 1980s. More than 30,000 people, most of them ethnic Kurds, have been killed in the conflict. The Kurds are Turkey's largest ethnic minority, and for decades, they have been targeted by discriminatory state policies that banned Kurdish language and education.
A top official from Turkey's main Kurdish political party, the Peace and Democracy Party, said that many of the locations searched were local party offices, as well as the offices of the Turkish Human Rights Association.
Peace and Democracy Party deputy co-chairwoman Meral Danis Bestas denounced the police search of the home of Leyla Zana, a party lawmaker who spent a decade in prison for speaking in Kurdish while taking an oath in the Turkish parliament.
"These searches are entirely against the law," Bestas said.
Bestas said that at least two prominent Kurdish politicians, a former parliament member and a former chairman of a Kurdish political party were also arrested in the police raids.
Last month, Turkish police launched a similar wave of raids that resulted in the detention of at least 38 journalists and media workers who were accused of working with the "propaganda department" of the Kurdistan Workers party's urban wing.