Turkey’s Interior Ministry announced in a statement on Wednesday that a total of 568 people were detained across 28 provinces Dec.12-13 as part of an investigation into twin bomb attacks in İstanbul on Saturday night.
The operations, targeting alleged members or supporters of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)/Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), were launched following an announcement from an offshoot of the PKK, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), which on Sunday claimed responsibility for the twin bombings that killed 44 people and wounded more than 160 outside Vodafone Arena in the Beşiktaş district of İstanbul.
Most of the detainees are from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). (HDP) spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen announced on Monday that at least 237 officials from his party had been detained in simultaneous raids since Monday morning.
The detainees include HDP provincial and district branch heads in provinces such as İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Adana, Mersin and Şanlıurfa, according to his statement.
Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent months. Courts arrested 10 deputies from the HDP last month and have seized the administration of scores of municipalities and jailed dozens of mayors in southeastern Turkey over the past months.
The Turkish government claims that the growing number of arrests of Kurdish politicians at the national and local level is part of the fight against terrorism.