Second day of raids puts 49 Kurdish politicians behind bars

Nearly 50 members of Turkey’s opposition Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were taken into custody on Wednesday in the second round of police raids against the party in two days, according to a party official.

The 49 politicians, most of them provincial or municipal officials, were picked up in raids in the provinces of Van and Hakkari, according to Merdan Berk, a spokesman for the DBP.

Police had arrested 32 HDP members on Tuesday.

They are all accused of membership in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an organization considered a terrorist group by Turkey and with which Turkey has been in conflict for most of the last few decades.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, in the past, referred to the HDP as an extension of the PKK but HDP members insist there are no ties between the two.

The PKK has been fighting for decades to lift Turkish control of Kurdish regions.

The more mainstream HDP says it seeks simply to promote Kurdish rights within Turkey.

Although there had been some efforts to improve Turkish-Kurd ties in recent years, even leading to a brief PKK-Turkish ceasefire, relations have deteriorated in the last year, with a return to open warfare.

In September, Turkey put numerous DBP-run governments under federal administration, removing local officials from office.

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