Turkish government arrests opposition party leaders

Turkish government arrests opposition party leaders

[JURIST] The Turkish Government on Friday arrested [WP report] eight pro-Kurdish political party members, including the party’s two leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, then arrested [Reuters report] an additional nine party members Saturday. All arrestees are members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party [party website], accused of terror-related acts and were members of the nation’s largest opposition political party. These arrests are part of a broad crackdown perpetrated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan [BBC profile], which have drawn international criticism, including from the White House [official website], which stated [press release], “[t]he United States is deeply concerned by the Turkish government’s detentions… of opposition members of parliament, including the co-chairs of the HDP, the Peoples’ Democratic Party. This comes on the heels of what appears to be an increase in official pressure on opposition media outlets in Turkey.”

The aftermath of the failed coup attempt continues as Erdoğan vowed [JURIST report] that those involved in the coup would “pay a heavy price.” In September Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that approximately 32,000 people have been arrested [JURIST report] in relation to the recent coup attempt, and 70,000 have been questioned. In late October Turkey’s government dismissed 10,000 additional civil servants and closed 15 more media outlets for their supposed connection with US-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey has accused of orchestrating the attempted coup in July. Then earlier this week, officials in Turkey detained [JURIST report] and searched the homes of 13 reporters alleging that, during the failed coup attempt in Turkey, they published stories seeking to “legitimize” those participating in the coup.