Ankara orders detention of 82 Kurdish politicians over protests against alleged Turkish support for ISIL

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The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has ordered the detention of 82 prominent pro-Kurdish politicians, with some of them detained as of Friday morning in police raids, the state-run Anadolu news agency (AA) reported.

According to AA, the detention warrants were issued over the politicians’ alleged role in protests in Kurdish majority cities against what is seen by many as the Turkish government’s tacit approval of the Kobane siege in 2014, when Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants laid a prolonged siege to a Kurdish town in northern Syria.

Among the detainees are Ayhan Bilgen, co-mayor of the eastern city of Kars; and Altan Tan, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Emine Ayna, Nazmi Gör and Beyza Üstün, former MPs from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). According to the Turkish media, citing the prosecutor’s office, they will be held in detention for four days.

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman recently sparked criticism for visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the presidential palace with his bride immediately after their wedding. The visit has become a subject of discussion as an indication of the current state of judicial independence, or lack thereof.

“Such would be the honeymoon of a prosecutor from the AKP [the ruling party]: ‘Many HDP members were detained as part of a probe launched by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman, who went to the palace to visit Erdoğan after a family wedding,” tweeted Can Dündar, a prominent Turkish journalist in exile who survived a 2016 assassination attempt in Turkey.

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