Turkey arrests 16 HDP, HDK officials including prominent figure

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Celalettin Can

Sixteen Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP) and Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) officials, including well-known figure Celalettin Can, who were detained in raids on their homes in İstanbul on Feb. 7 have been arrested by a court.

Can, the spokesperson for the 78’ers initiative, was among the group of “wise people” selected by the Turkish government in 2013 to contribute to the settlement of Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish problem.

Can and 29 others were detained in police operations on Feb. 7. An İstanbul court decided to arrest 16 detainees including Can on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

Can is accused of holding an illegal demonstration to protest a court ruling in the trial of Sept. 12, 1980 coup suspects, attending conferences about jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, taking part in HDK executive board meetings, supporting campaigns to send blankets and white appliances to areas where the Turkish military was conducting military operations, referring to slain PKK members as “martyrs” and taking part in illegal demonstrations in protest of the closure of the Özgür Gündem daily and chanting slogans.

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