Turkish police have detained 118 people in raids across Turkey targeting officials from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) over allegations of links to Kurdish PKK militants, state-run Anadolu agency said on Monday.
The operations were launched after an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on Sunday claimed responsibility for twin bombings that killed 38 people and wounded 155 outside an Istanbul soccer stadium.
Hours after that claim, Turkish warplanes carried out air strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, destroying a headquarters of the militants and surrounding gun positions and shelters, an army statement said.
Around dawn, about 500 police, backed by armoured vehicles and a helicopter, launched an operation in the southern city of Adana and detained 25 HDP officials, Anadolu said.
Counter-terror police teams in Istanbul separately took into custody 20 HDP officials, including its provincial head, and carried out searches at various addresses including the party’s main offices in the city, the agency said.
The top HDP official in Ankara was among 17 people from the party held in raids in the capital, it said, adding 51 people were detained in the southern city of Mersin and five in the northwestern province of Manisa.
The leaders of the HDP, the second-largest opposition grouping in parliament, have already been jailed pending trial over alleged ties to the PKK, and Ankara regularly accuses the HDP of being an extension of the militant group.
The PKK is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.