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Detention warrant issued for HDP Co-chairperson Kemalbay

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Turkish prosecutors on Friday issued a detention warrant for Serpil Kemalbay, co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP), just two days before a party congress.

According to Turkish news outlets, Kemalbay is among 17 individuals for whom detention warrants were issued by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on the grounds that they criticized a Turkish military incursion in northern Syria.

Kemalbay and the 16 other suspects reportedly read a statement condemning the operation in Syria at a conference held last weekened.

The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have reacted strongly to people who oppose the operation, and prosecutor’s offices have initiated investigations into people who share social media messages critical of the operation.

Earlier this week Turkish police teams detained 31 HDP and Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) officials in raids on their homes in İstanbul.

Former HDP Co-chairpersons Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ as well as several other deputies and dozens of party members are currently in jail on terror charges. The party will hold its third general party congress on Sunday and elect its new co-chairpersons.

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