At least 15 people, including members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy
Party (HEDEP) and the Association for the Freedom of Lawyers (ÖHD), were detained
on Friday in raids conducted by the Turkish police, local media reported.
The detentions took place in İstanbul, Eskişehir, Şanlıurfa and Şırnak as part of
an investigation into the “Freedom March,” a protest staged to call for the removal
of communication restrictions imposed on Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the
outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK is an armed insurgent group that has been waging warfare against the Turkish
state since the 1980s and is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey as
well as much of the international community.
Apprehended abroad by Turkish intelligence in 1999, Öcalan was initially sentenced
to death on charges of treason and separatism. His sentence was later commuted to
life imprisonment upon the abolition of the death penalty in the country in 2002.
The conditions of Öcalan’s detention are often raised by pro-Kurdish politicians
and activists, who accuse the Turkish government of keeping him incommunicado and
Earlier this month, HEDEP called on the parliament’s Committee on Human Rights Inquiry
to visit his prison on İmralı Island to observe his detention conditions.