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BBC: Turkish mass arrests target Kurdish areas ahead of election

25-4-2023 |

Turkish police have detained at least 126 people suspected of links to a banned Kurdish militant group, ahead of an election that could bring down President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish reports said those held across 21 provinces were suspected of financing and helping to recruit for the outlawed PKK.

The suspects included lawyers, journalists and politicians.

The main pro-Kurdish party said the arrests were timed to affect the vote.

Nineteen days before Turks vote in presidential and parliamentary elections, the HDP said those detained included lawyers who could scrutinise election security, independent journalists, who could cover potential voter fraud, and party campaign managers.

Turkey's state news agency Anadolu said some of those held in Tuesday's raids were linked to 60 street protests as well as child abductions, and were led by public prosecutors in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir.

The elections are being seen as Turkey's most significant for years, with six opposition parties uniting behind a single candidate in Kemal Kilicdaroglu. The HDP is not part of that so-called Table of Six but has backed his candidacy.

Mr Kilicdaroglu leads the Republican People's Party (CHP) and opinion polls give him a realistic chance of defeating Turkey's long-time leader Mr Erdogan, who has been in power for more than 20 years.

Source: BBC