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Over 100 Detained, Including Pro-Kurdish Politicians, Journalists

Turkish police detained on Tuesday 158 individuals, including a provincial co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a number of journalists on charges of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in almost 100 house raids in 11 provinces, as part of an investigation based in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

Among the detainees are the co-head of the HDP’s provincial office in Diyarbakir, Mehmet Serif Camci, an HDP Spokesman Vedat Dag, journalists Abdurrahman Gok and Esra Solin Dal, who work at the Mezopotamya news agency, Semiha Alankus from the Yeni Yasam daily and Kibriye Evren from Jin News, according to the daily Evrensel.

Police, reportedly travelling in armored vehicles, carried out raids early in the morning on the houses of suspects, breaking down doors in multiple instances.

Evrensel reported that journalist Gok’s house was raided by a group of officers, who were wielding long guns and searched around after having Gok and his friends lie down on the floor.

Those detained were taken to the Diyarbakir Police Department Counterterrorism Unit. Journalist Alankus, who was detained in Istanbul is also reportedly set to be taken to Diyarbakir.

At the time of the reporting of Evrensel, there were armored police vehicles and water cannon trucks waiting outside the the Diyarbakir office of HDP.

The Diyarbakir Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement Tuesday morning regarding the operation, saying the arrests were made as part of two separate cases of investigations.

The statement also elaborated that the investigations were in relation to the PKK’s branches operating in the areas of “public area”, “women”, “media”, “local administrations” and “political parties”.

During the searches conducted by the police in house raids, “organizational documents and digital materials” were found, according to the prosecutor’s statement.

Another statement came from the Ministry of Interior, which said that the operation aimed at uncovering the PKK and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that includes the PKK.

The house raids that kicked off at 1:00 a.m. Tuesday morning resulted in the arrest of 80 people in Diyarbakir, three in Istanbul, two in Van, one in Sirnak, one in Sanliurfa, one in Batman, one in Mersin, one in Mardin, the statement said, adding that scores of “banned books and organizational documents” were seized and the operation is ongoing.

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