|ISTANBUL - Forty-six people, including three high-level officials from a pro-Kurdish political party, were detained Tuesday in a simultaneous operation targeting the terror organization PKK in 12 provinces of Turkey, news agencies reported. (UPDATED)
Anti-terror police detained 46 people in raids conducted on several locations across Turkey, including the offices of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, and the headquarters of a local TV station in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir, Anatolian Agency said.
DTP deputy chairs, Kamuran Yuksek and Bayram Altun, were taken in for questioning in Diyarbakir, where police also detained the chief editor of private television channel Gun TV, the agency said. The party's deputy chairwoman, Selma Irmak, was detained in the southeastern province of Mardin, it added.
Seracettin Irmak, a lawyer for jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, and Alican Unlu, the deputy mayor of the eastern province of Tunceli, were also among those detained on Tuesday.
The operation, one year in the planning, aims to expose those with links to the terror organization PKK inside the DTP and Kurdish non-governmental organizations, a judicial source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The constitutional court is currently deliberating a case demanding the closure of the DTP over its alleged links to the terror organization PKK, which launches cross-border attacks against Turkey from bases in northern Iraq. The party has 21 legislators in Turkey’s 550-seat parliament.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, including the EU and the United States.
The DTP leader Ahmet Turk told his parliamentary group meeting that the operation was a clear indicator for the government's intolerance toward the election results.
DTP Co-chair Emine Ayna described the operation as "very dangerous" and politically motivated, evaluating Tuesday's detainments during a press conference in the capital Ankara.
Selahattin Demirtas, deputy chairman of the DTP parliamentary group, also said the arrests were a reaction to the DTP's success in the March 29 local elections.
"This is an illegal operation against the DTP and an attempt to manipulate the DTP's political support and break its will," Demirtas told Reuters. "It's no coincidence the operation comes so soon after the election."