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 Turkey arrests over 100 people in operation against KCK Kurdish Communities Union

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Turkey arrests over 100 people in operation against KCK Kurdish Communities Union  13.2.2012  
By staff writers

Raids and detentions in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir February 13, 2012. On October 18, 2010 a Turkish court began the KCK trial of 152 high profile Kurdish politicians and rights defenders in KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) case, accused of being the urban wing of separatist Kurdish (Kurdistan Workers' Party) PKK rebels, Photo: ANF See Related Links
February 13, 2012

ANKARA, — Turkish police made around 100 arrests on Monday in a major new nationwide operation targeting union leaders and activists over their links to Kurdish rebels, television channels reported.

Police raided offices and homes in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, NTV and CNN-Turk reported. Raids also took place in six other cities.

The operation was part of a wider legal offensive against the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), a union regarded by the authorities in Ankara as the political wing of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Many of those who were arrested had been involved in cases defending the rights of Kurdish municipal workers, the reports said.

According to Dicle News Agency the number of arrests have risen to over 140 in the operations in 16 cities under the name of KCK (Union of Kurdistan Communities).

Fifteen trade union representatives have been arrested in Ankara as in Istanbul at least 40 have been arrested, including Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) executive board member Ezine Dal, BDP Bakırköy Branch Executive Board Member Sevgi Kılıç, BDP Bakırköy Co-Chair Filiz Yılmaz Canpolat, BDP members Esin Ceylan, Murat Aktaşçı, Tayfur Turgut and former DİHA reporter and filmmaker Mizgin Müjde Aslan. It has also been reported that Van City Council Member İdris Canbay who was visiting in Istanbul has been taken under custody and a search has been started in his house in Van.

On the other hand in Adana, four among the 41 taken under custody two days ago have been jailed on the charges of committing crimes on behalf of the illegal organisation and producing propaganda of the illegal organisation.

Lawsuits have also been filed for two other detainees who have not been jailed. The 35 detainees, including 15 children, have been transferred to the public prosecutor’s office for interrogation.

Ankara says that the KCK wants to replace Turkish government institutions in the southeastern Anatolia region, which is majority Kurd, with its own political structures.

Since 2009, some 700 people have been arrested over alleged links to the KCK, according to government figures. Kurdish media puts the figure at around 3,500.

The KCK-trial began on October 18, 2010 when 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 over 3895 persons were arrested in the scope of KCK operations during the past nine months, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party announced. Dozens of BDP executives and employees are still in prison.

At least 567 people were detained by police from 10 December 2011 to 3 January 2012. Among the detainees, including mayors, students, children, human rights activists and union members, over 350 were remanded in custody and sent to prison.

On February 4, 2012, members from the Swedish Parliament nominate imprisoned Turkish publisher and human rights defender Ragıp Zarakolu who is in jail for KCK links for the Nobel Peace.

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. 

Compiled by from agency reports

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, AFP | | | Agencies


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