Turkey places key leaders of pro-Kurdish party under arrest

Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag
Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag

The two co-chairs of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, have been formally arrested Friday by a court, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

They were among 12 HDP members of parliament who were detained in overnight raids. In total, five elected HDP legislators are under arrest, including the faction chief in parliament.

european-unionThe detentions and arrest have drawn condemnations from the European Union. In addition there is concern over restrictions on the Internet in Turkey, including efforts to block Twitter and Facebook and messaging applications like WhatsApp.

The government accuses the HDP of having links to the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the leaders are facing terrorism-related charges, including spreading propaganda. The HDP says it rejects all violence and is not the political wing of the armed group.