Turkey issues arrest warrants for 82 Kurdish politicians over 2014 riots

Xinhua News Agency | Sep 25, 2020 at 1:30 PM

ANKARA, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for the detention of 82 Kurdish politicians, including former lawmakers of pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), as part of an investigation launched over deadly protests in 2014.

"The Ankara Prosecutor's Terror Crimes Investigation Bureau has launched an investigation on the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) terrorist organization and its so-called executives, as well as certain political party executives and members," the prosecutor's office said on Friday.

At least 18 of the suspects were detained in simultaneous police raids in seven cities of Turkey, semi-official Anadolu Agency reported. The current mayor of eastern Kars city Ayhan Bilgen from the HDP, and six former HDP lawmakers are reportedly among the detained.

A week of violent protests caused 37 deaths in 2014. The protests came as a reaction to the Turkish government's perceived inaction towards the Islamic State militants' siege of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane.

The Turkish government blames the HDP for being a political front for the outlawed PKK.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for over 30 years, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.