Turkey Slammed for Mass Arrest of Kurdish Journalists, Politicians, Lawyers

Supporters of Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) at a rally as part of Nowruz (Newroz), or Kurdish New Year, celebrations in Diyarbakir, Turkey, 21 March 2023. Photo: EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA

The vice-president of Diyarbakir Bar Association Mehdi Ozdemir said on Tuesday morning that the operation, which was ordered by the Diyarbakir prosecutor's office, was still ongoing as police continued to raid houses and offices.

"Detentions continue. Searches continue at the offices of many of our lawyer friends. No reason has been given so far. An operation aimed at people from various different occupations. There are artists, politicians, NGO representatives and lawyers among them," Ozdemir told Amida News.

The Turkish state-owned Anadolu Agency said that the operation was part of an investigation into the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK and Kurdistan Communities Union, KCK, but the police and Diyarbakir prosecutor's office have given no information about the detentions so far.

Among the detainees are 11 journalists including Mesopotamia News Agency's proprietor Ferhat Celik and editor Abdurrahman Gok, Yeni Yasam newspaper's chief editor Osman Akin and Xwebun newspaper's proprietor Kadri Esen.

Irene Khan, the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, expressed corn about the arrests.

"Deeply disturbing news from Turkey… Too often vague overly broad antiterrorism & other criminal laws are misused against journalists," Khan wrote on Twitter.

Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, HDP also condemned the operation targeting senior Kurdish figures, who included the party's deputy co-chair Ozlem Gunduz and central board member Mahfuz Guleryuz.

"This operation is...

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