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Turkish prosecutors seek aggravated life for HDP politicians targeted by interior minister

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Adana prosecutors have indicted 12 local politicians from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who were previously verbally targeted by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, the Artı Gerçek news website reported on Thursday.

In the indictment accepted by a high criminal court, the members of the Kurdish party face aggravated life sentences as they are charged with engaging in organized crime including racketeering and blackmail.

The local politicians, including the HDP’s provincial co-chair, Gülseren Tural were detained on March 20 in a morning raid on the party’s provincial headquarters.

Minister Soylu commented on the raid, claiming that it had unearthed a crime ring that had been extorting money from people for three years.

He also said the security forces seized large amounts of money stored in safes and leads that could implicate HDP structures in other provinces.

Turkey cracked down on the Kurdish party after a failed coup in 2016, jailing many of its executives and low-level employees.

Two former HDP co-chairs have been imprisoned since November 2016.

Soylu’s ministry spearheaded the crackdown on HDP-held local governments, removing dozens of its elected mayors and appointing trustees to replace them.

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