16,300 HDP members detained, 3,500 jailed since 2015

Supporters of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) hold placards reading "Free Demirtas" in front of Istanbul's Courthouse on May 21, 2018, to demand the release of Pro-Kurdish party leader Selahattin Demirtas who is currently in a Turkish jail. Turkey's jailed former pro-Kurdish party leader Selahattin Demirtas, 45, who is running against the Turkish President in the June 24 polls despite being held in jail for the last one-and-a-half years, lambasted the "unfairness" of his campaign conditions, but said he was ready to rally voters from prison. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

A total of 16,300 members of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have been detained while 3,500 others have been sent to jail since 2015, according to HDP deputy Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Ankara accuses the HDP of links to the militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Tiryaki’s remarks came during a demonstration in the eastern Turkish province of Batman protesting the detention of 30 Kurdish activists and politicians.

“[Despite the detentions and arrests] our party is standing on its own two feet, and we made them [the government] lose in İstanbul, Ankara and in many other places,” he said.

Former HDP Co-chairpersons Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ are also in jail. They were arrested in November 2016.

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