Skip to main content

Turkish police raid HDP offices in Istanbul

Raid is latest in a crackdown by Turkish authorities on pro-Kurdish party accused of backing outlawed PKK
Riot police block the street outside the HDP's Beyoglu headquarters on Friday (AFP)

Turkey's anti-terror police on Friday raided the district offices of the main opposition pro-Kurdish party in Istanbul.

Police seized documents and arrested several people from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in the Beyoglu district.

A police source told the Anadolu news agency that police conducted the operation as a part of an investigation into the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), the youth wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey considers a terrorist group.

According to an AFP photographer, entry to the street where the office is located was blocked by riot police, who deployed armoured cars and anti-riots vehicles around the building.

Turkish media reports said that several people were detained during the two-hour operation, including the co-chair of the Beyoglu branch of the HDP, Rukiye Demir.

The party, known for its pro-Kurdish line, reacted against the police raid on its official Twitter account.

The HDP claimed the operation was “unlawful”, adding that they would not be silenced in the face of such pressures.

The authorities have stepped up legal pressure on the HDP at the same time as Turkey's military has been carrying out raids targeting suspected Kurdish militants in towns in the Kurdish-majority southeast.

The authorities accuse the HDP of acting as the political arm of the PKK, which is also considered a terrorist group by the US and the EU. The HDP vehemently denies this.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu recently floated the idea of lifting the parliamentary immunity of HDP deputies Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag for allegedly supporting terrorism.

The call received the backing of another opposition party, the conservative Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).