In their continued efforts to weed out political dissenters, Turkish authorities have detained two co-leaders of the country’s third-largest political party.
The leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, were detained in police raids Friday along with nine other HDP lawmakers. Authorities accuse them of supporting Kurdish militants, which the party has denied. HDP seats 59 lawmakers in parliament. Reuters has more:
Police also raided and searched the party's head office in central Ankara. Television images showed party officials quarreling with police during the raid, and a Reuters witness said many police cars and armed vehicles had closed the entrances to the street of the HDP headquarters.
Earlier this year, the Turkish parliament threw out the protections against prosecution that lawmakers had previously enjoyed. Now, it seems, authorities are taking advantage of the new law and arresting lawmakers they allege have ties to the terrorist group PKK.
While police conducted raids, social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Whatsapp, were blocked temporarily inside Turkey, the BBC reports.
Since the failed coup of July, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a state of emergency and detailed tens of thousands of academics, journalists, members of the military, judges, and public servants with alleged ties to the putsch.