Turkey’s Opposition HDP Co-Leaders Held in Probe for Failing to Answer Summons

– HDP lawmakers detained after failing to appear for testimony in terror investigation

Lawmakers from Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were detained early Friday for failing to answer a counter-terrorism investigation summons, the Turkish Interior Ministry said. Party co-leaders Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas and parliamentary group leader Idris Baluken were among 12 deputies seized by police after prosecutors in Turkey’s east and southeast approved the arrests, the ministry said in a statement, according to Anadolu Agency.

The lawmakers face prosecution under anti-terrorism laws after their parliamentary immunity was lifted earlier this year.

Lawmakers from other parties also face a range of investigations but only HDP deputies have refused to testify before prosecutors

Anadolu Agency earlier reported that Selahattin Demirtas wrote on his twitter account:” If they want or testimony they’ll have to force us there.”

Demirtas was detained at his Diyarbakir residence on the same grounds, while Yüksekdağ was arrested in the capital Ankara.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of being the political arm of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has fought an armed insurgency against the state for over three decades.

Although the Kurds are Turkey’s largest ethnic minority for much of the 20th century, the PKK which, according to the government is supported by the HDP party, is identified as a terror group by Turkey, the US and the EU.

Closure of social networking sites in order to prevent chaos

Immediately hours after the arrest of the two Kurdish leaders, A car bomb rocked southeastern Turkey’s largest city on Friday, killing 8 persons, including 2 policemen and injuring more than 100 persons, security sources told Sabah newspaper.

The blast occurred in Diyarbakir’s Baglar district, near a building used by the riot police. The Diyarbakir governor’s office said it was believed to have been caused by a car bomb carried out by the rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, outlined Anadolu Agency.

To prevent these deadly bomb attacks – carried out by Kurdish militants or Islamic State group extremists – that Turkey has been plagued over 18 months, The Turkish government imposed a temporary blackout on coverage of the explosion inside the country. Also, access to the major social media websites was temporarily restricted, according to CBS News.

It is noteworthy that the arrested Selahattin Demirtas tweeted about his arrest before the sites were restricted, saying “police officials are at my door in my Diyarbakir house [in southern Turkey] to detain me by force”.

On the other hand, the HDP party used their official foreign affairs twitter account to say in a tweet that an internet slowdown was in effect “to prevent reactions through social media” to the arrests.

(HDP members, dressed in the uniform of terrorist PKK militias in 2014)

Attempts of containment

Despite the participation of HDP party for the first time in the local elections in 2014, and its participation in the government in 2015, the HDP members always accuse the Turkish administration of attacking the Kurdish identity.

At that time, HDP members: Ali Haydar Konca and Müslüm Doğan became the Minister of European Union Affairs and the Minister of Development, respectively.

Today after all that progress, a member of the Turkish Parliament, told CNN that the arrest of HDP leaders is “an attack on Kurdish identity and dignity, and that the attack is not different from any attack on Kurdish officials in the last 100 years.”

But following the activities of the HDP, the accusations of the existence of direct relations between the HDP party and the PKK seem true.

Hurriyet, a Turkish Newspaper, reported in 2014, that during the HDP party’s 2nd. Extraordinary Congress, HDP supporters came dressed as PKK guerrillas, with many members during the congress holding banners picturing the PKK’s imprisoned founder Abdullah Öcalan.

Also, from 2013 to 2015, the HDP participated in peace negotiations with the Turkish government on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist militant organisation, with which it is accused of having direct links.