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Corbyn condemns Turkish government's crackdown on sister party activists

The Labour leader broke the silence after mounting pressure from Kurdish activists in Britain who were dismayed by his party’s failure to speak out sooner

JEREMY CORBYN broke Labour’s silence today to condemn the crackdown on its Turkish sister party, after hundreds of pro-Kurdish HDP activists were arrested in a series of lightning raids.

At least 500 activists and journalists have been rounded up across Turkey this week amid a crackdown on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Arrests have mainly taken place in the Kurdish south-east, but also at protests in Istanbul where police have blasted crowds with water cannon.

Several MPs had to be rushed to hospital after police targeted them.

Mr Corbyn took to Twitter to warn Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “The arrest of political leaders and activists from the [HDP] is unacceptable.

“Turkey should respect human rights, the rule of law and not undermine its democracy.”

The Labour leader broke the silence after mounting pressure from Kurdish activists in Britain who were dismayed by his party’s failure to speak out sooner.

Speaking from London, former Labour mayor of Haringey Ali Gul Ozbek told the Morning Star that the situation was “reminiscent of a coup.”

“Co-mayors, councillors and members of the pro-Kurdish HDP were removed from their posts in the metropolitan municipalities of Diyarbakir, Van and Mardin, and replaced by government-assigned custodians in the middle of the night,” he explained.

“These people were voted into office with substantial majorities, by people who exercised their democratic constitutional rights.”

Mr Ozbek asked: “If these people were guilty in any way, then why did the High Electoral Commission allow them to become candidates and be selected into office by the people?

He said: “We only come across these arbitrary anti-democratic actions in dictatorial regimes.”

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