Turkish police detained 118 pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) officials Monday over alleged links to Kurdish PKK militants, state media reported.
Country-wide operations were launched after an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for twin bombings that killed at least 38 people and wounded more than 150 outside an Istanbul football stadium Sunday.
Hours after that claim, Turkish warplanes carried out airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, destroying a headquarters of the militants and surrounding gun positions and shelters, according to a Turkish army statement.
Police units, backed by armored vehicles and a helicopter, launched operations and made the arrests in several cities, including the capital, Ankara, and Istanbul, Turkey’s economic, cultural and historic center. The top HDP official was among those arrested in Ankara.
Other leaders of the HDP, the second-largest opposition group in parliament, are in jail pending trial over alleged ties to the PKK. Ankara has constantly accused the HDP of being an extension of the militant group.
The outlawed PKK is designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.