Turkey to arrest 82 including mayor over pro-Kurdish protests

Turkey to arrest 82 including mayor over pro-Kurdish protests

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Officials and local media said that the Turkish authorities issued arrest warrants against 82 people, including the mayor, during a protest in support of the Kurds six years ago.

The arrest warrant is related to a protest in Turkey in October 2014 that was triggered by Daesh militants arresting the Syrian town of Kobane, mainly Kurdish Syria.

Police were on the hunt for the 82 suspects in the Turkish capital and six other provinces, the Ankara chief public prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The prosecutor’s office did not specify the crimes allegedly committed by 82 people.

But it said that the crimes committed during the protest included murder, attempted murder, theft, destruction of property, robbery, burning of the Turkish flag and injuring 326 security officials and 435 citizens.

The daily Hurriyet reported that the mayor of the eastern city of Kars also had an arrest warrant.

Bilgen won the 2019 local elections representing the pro-Kurdish Democratic Party (HDP), the second largest opposition group in the Turkish parliament.

The party said last month that out of a total of 65 HDP mayors who returned in those elections, 47 have now been replaced by unelected officials, and some of them have been detained on terrorist charges.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of being the political front of the illegal PKK-which has been rebelling against the country since 1984-but the party denies this.

Former HDP co-leaders, Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, were named in the investigation but both have been in jail since 2016 pending multiple trials.

The government accused HDP of urging people to participate in protests that killed 37 people across Turkey.

But HDP blamed the violence on the Turkish police.

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