Nine Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) officials who were detained in the Beşiktaş district of İstanbul over the weekend where they had gathered to stage a protest against a Turkish incursion in northern Syria were arrested on Monday, according to the Evrensel daily.
Police intervened and used force against the HDP officials including the party’s Şişli district branch co-chair Mutlu Öztürk when they gathered in front of the HDP Beşiktaş district office to make a press statement and then hold a march against the Turkish operation in northern Syria.
Turkey launched its long-planned Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 aimed at taking out the Kurdish forces it sees as terrorists but which most of the West views as key partners in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants. The Turkish military operation began days after a surprise and widely criticized White House announcement that US forces would withdraw from the region.
The HDP officials appeared before a judge on Monday and were subsequently arrested on charges of spreading the propaganda of a terrorist organization and violating the law on demonstrations.
Slogans of “No to war, peace immediately” chanted by the HDP officials were considered terrorist propaganda by the Turkish court.
The HDP, the third largest party in parliament, deems the Turkish incursion in Syria an “invasion” and was the only political party to strongly criticize the military operation launched last week.