Turkey arrests of opposition politicians increases tension

CCTV News

Turkey arrests of opposition politicians increases tension

Turkey has arrested the co-chairs of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, along with a number of other MPs.

The group was detained as part of “terrorism” investigations, carried out by authorities in five cities across Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast.

Hours later, a large explosion rocked one of the largest cities in the region. CCTV America’s Natalie Carney reports.

Turkey arrests of opposition politicians increases tension

Turkey arrests of opposition politicians increases tension

Turkey has arrested the co-chairs of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party, along with a number of other MPs. The group was detained as part of “terrorism” investigations, carried out by authorities in five cities across Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast. Hours later, a large explosion rocked one of the largest cities in the region. CCTV America’s Natalie Carney reports.

Early on Friday morning police raided the homes of HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdağ.

They were taken into custody, along with ten other party MP’s, in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, for failing to give testimony for crimes linked to “terrorist propaganda”.

Shortly after, at 8 a.m. local time, an explosion rocked the city killing nine, including five children.

Both the outlawed Kurdish militant group, the PKK and ISIL have claimed responsibility for the attack.

The HDP made history last June for winning enough seats in elections to become the first pro Kurdish party to enter Turkish parliament.

Party representatives called the detentions and arrest a “coup” against pluralism in Turkey.

In July co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ made public statements about supporting Syrian Kurdish rebel groups the government says are extensions of the PKK.

“Currently they are still parliamentarians, but their diplomatic immunity has been dropped. They have been accused but have not received a sentence. They will now be judged and after this judgment if they are proven guilty then their parliamentarian titles will be dropped. This will take a lot of time, ” Ismail Kapan, Head of Turkiye Newspaper said.

But many still see the arrests a threat to democracy and a move by the government to stifle any opposition voices.

International reaction is also coming in. The United States says they are “deeply concerned of the recent developments in Turkey, while EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini has called the moves “extremely worrying”.

Following criticism of the arrests and detentions, the Prime Minister Binali Yldirim responded by saying “Politics cannot be a shield for committing a crime. Turkey is a state of law,” they should “pay the price” if they engage in “terror.”