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Demonstrations continue against detention of HDP

DEMONSTRATIONS continued for a fourth day today against the detention of more than 80 Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) politicians and supporters in Turkey.

The public prosecutor extended their detention period today after bringing them to court in the Turkish capital Ankara, amid warnings of a “political genocide” against the party.

Eighty-two HDP members were arrested last week, along with lawyers, journalists and other opposition supporters, in one of the biggest operations against the party in recent years.

The government said that the detentions were related to 2014 protests in support of the Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria, which was under attack from Isis.

The HDP had called people onto the streets as the Turkish state refused to allow sympathisers to defend Kobane. Turkey blocked aid and equipment from reaching the city, fuelling accusations that it was supporting the jihadist death cult.

At least 36 people were killed in clashes with Turkish security services as they tried to suppress the street demonstrations. The government blames the HDP for the deaths.

The Union for Democracy, an umbrella group of 83 political organisations in Turkey, accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government of intensifying attacks on the opposition to cover for a “shrinkage of its political support” due to a deepening economic crisis.

Zeyno Bayramoglu, former HDP Ankara co-chair, told the Morning Star that the ongoing clampdown is an indication of the Turkish government’s weakness.

“The government is unable to manage the economy and the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis are deepening,” Ms Bayramoglu said. “The Kurds and the HDP will stand firm and come out stronger from these attacks.”

Ankara Women’s Platform spokeswoman Derman Gulmez said that international solidarity was vital as the HDP comes under intense pressure from the Turkish state.

“While steps have been not taken against people like Musa Orhan [the Turkish soldier accused of repeatedly raping Kurdish teenager Ipek Er], the arrest of HDP members who wanted freedom for Kobane six years later is an act of revenge and nothing but racism,” she said.

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