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 Turkish police detain 150 people in Kurdish KCK probe

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Turkish police detain 150 people in Kurdish KCK probe  4.10.2011  
By staff writers

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October 4, 2011

ISTANBUL, — Turkish police have detained over 140 people with suspected links to Kurdish rebels in three main cities, media reports said.

Police early Tuesday morning arrested 90 people in Istanbul after raiding several addresses around the city, Anatolia news agency reported.

The suspects are accused of having links to the urban wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Police also detained 31 people in Diyarbakir, the regional capital of the            

Anti-KCK operations in Hakkari, the Kurdish region in SE turkey.
mainly Kurdish southeast [Turkish Kurdistan], and 20 people in city of Gaziantep in the same region on the same charges, NTV news channel reported.

The number of detainees might increase in Diyarbakir as the police operation was ongoing, NTV said.

Hundreds of people, including elected mayors, are already on trial on charges of ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, as part of a two-year old case which has fuelled tensions in the Kurdish southeast Turkey.

The number of detainees might increase in Diyarbakir as the police operation was ongoing, NTV said.

Currently, more than 2,500 Kurds, including members and five parliamentarians of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, are in jail with the same accusation.

The investigation is focused on an organisation called the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), which the PKK established in 2005 with the aim of creating its own Kurdish political system,
www.ekurd.netaccording to a 2009 indictment.

Some 152 high profile Kurdish politicians and activists are being tried in Diyarbakir where a large courtroom has been specially built. Similar trials are being held in other cities across Turkey.

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 (Kurdistan Workers' Party) PKK rebels, in a case seen as a democracy test for Ankara.

The European Union, which Turkey is aiming to join, is closely watching the cases and their human rights implications.

Deputies from the BDP party swore their parliamentary oaths at the start of the legislative term at the weekend, ending a boycott triggered by court rulings barring some of its elected candidates, jailed in the KCK cases, from taking their seats.

The renewed violence is another setback for a government initiative in recent years to boost the rights of minority Kurds who account for up to 15 million of Turkey’s 74 million people.

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. 

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