Turkey detains 44 people in raids targeting Kurdish militants


Turkish police detained 44 people in Istanbul on Friday on suspicion of links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in a continuing crackdown on militants ahead of a snap national election in November, local media reported.
Fighting between the Turkish military and the outlawed PKK resumed in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast following the collapse in July of a cease-fire and has reached an intensity unseen since the 1990s. More than 120 security personnel and hundreds of militants have been killed.
Hurriyet newspaper reported that among those detained on Friday were district officials of the Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), a pro-Kurdish party which the government accuses of having links with the hard-line PKK.
An HDP spokesman had no immediate information on the arrests. There was also no comment from Turkish police.
HDP district officials have been detained in previous police raids in southeastern Turkey as well. The HDP accuses the government of seeking to punish it for its success in the inconclusive June election that deprived the ruling Islamist-rooted AKP of its single-party majority in parliament.
Among the 44 people arrested were union members and former district mayors, Turkish media reported.
In the predominantly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, security sources said police had imposed a curfew in the Silvan neighborhood where two soldiers were shot dead by suspected PKK militants on Thursday as they left for work.
The renewed hostilities have wrecked efforts to establish a long-term peace, and have sparked some of the worst recent clashes in the 29-year-old PKK insurgency.
Deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and European Union, the PKK launched its armed campaign for a Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey in 1984. The conflict has cost more than 40,000 lives.


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