A parliamentary candidate from the opposition Green Left Party (YSP) was among seven people who were arrested Wednesday on terrorism-related charges ahead of critical presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey on May 14, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the Evrensel daily.
Twenty-seven people including YSP candidate Müslüm Koyun, Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) Co-Chair Şahin Tümüklü and ETHA News Agency reporter Nadiye Gürbüz were detained on April 30 as part of Eskişehir and İstanbul-based investigations over alleged involvement in the activities of the Marxist–Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey.
Koyun, Tümüklü, Gürbüz and four others were arrested on Wednesday by a local court.
YSP candidate Ayten Dönmez was also arrested last week on terrorism-related charges.
Dönmez’s arrest came shortly after she was targeted by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu during a recent live program on 24 TV, who claimed that there was “a terrorist from the mountains” on the candidate lists of the YSP, referring to Dönmez. “She has worn the clothes of the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party], and footage of her in the mountains is soon to be revealed,” Soylu said.
The PKK been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s southeast since 1984 and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.
The YSP has been facing pressure since the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) announced in late March that it would run in the parliamentary elections slated for May 14 under its banner so as to circumvent the risks that could emerge from its possible closure ahead of the elections.
The HDP is facing a closure case on terrorism charges that was filed in March 2021 and could be concluded before the elections since the Constitutional Court, which is hearing the case, has rejected the HDP’s request to delay the verdict until after the elections.
Both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), frequently accuse the HDP, the second-largest opposition group in parliament, of ties to the outlawed PKK, a claim the party denies.
Erdoğan’s accusations about the HDP and other opposition parties’ alleged links to the PKK have increased since the HDP announced its tacit support for Erdoğan’s rival, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Turkey’s main opposition leader and the joint candidate of an opposition bloc of six parties.