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Turkish police release academic after Kurdish militant arrests

Fikret Baskaya was released hours after police arrested him over allegations of supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party on social media
Protesters take part in a demonstration in support of a teacher and an academic on a hunger strike in central Ankara (AFP)

Turkish counter-terror police detained 10 people including academic Fikret Baskaya early on Monday in an operation targeting members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Baris Yarkadas, a lawmaker from the main opposition CHP, wrote on Twitter that Baskaya, 77, had been detained at his home in the capital Ankara at 6.30am and that police had seized some of his personal possessions.

Several hours after the arrest, Baskaya, a university lecturer and author, was released.

Anadolu said arrest warrants had been issued for a total of 17 people on allegations of aiding the PKK and spreading the group’s propaganda on social media.

In the mid-2000's Baskaya faced three years in jail after his writing was accused of "insulting the state's spiritual personality", though he was later acquitted.

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The PKK launched a separatist insurgency in southeast Turkey in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict. It is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

Over 50,000 people have been arrested since the failed 15 July 2016 coup - which the government blames on the movement of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen - while more than 140,000 people including public sector employees have been sacked or suspended over alleged links to Gulen and his movement.