26 teachers detained in southeast Turkey as part of operation targeting Kurdish group

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Turkish police officers on Friday detained 26 teachers, all members of the Education and Science Workers Union (Eğitim-Sen), as part of an investigation into the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an umbrella group of the Kurdish political movement, the Mesopotamia news agency reported.

The teachers were detained following police raids on their homes in the early hours of Friday. Police officers also searched the teachers’ private lockers at their places of employment.

The detained teachers were taken to the Diyarbakır Police Station for questioning. The charges against the group were not clear, but Kurds in Turkey primarily face terrorism charges due to alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

“This morning our colleagues engaged in union work were unlawfully and unjustly detained. We will not take a step back from union activities. We will continue to struggle until our friends are released,” the Diyarbakır branch of Eğitim-Sen tweeted on Friday.

The Turkish government, which has been waging a wide-ranging crackdown on non-loyalist citizens since a failed coup in July 2016, has arrested hundreds of Kurdish politicians and citizens and ousted dozens of democratically elected Kurdish mayors from office on terrorism charges.

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