At least 11 pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies were detained in a major government crackdown against the opposition on Thursday night.
Police raided the homes of HDP Co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş and HDP deputy Ziya Pir, and took all three into custody.
HDP’s official Twitter account in English announced that “At least 9 deputies of HDP [including] Co-chairs Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ have been taken into custody. Houses raided, doors broken.” Interior Ministry later said in a statement that the number stands at 11 –namely Selahattin Demirtaş, Figen Yüksekdağ, Ferhat Encü, Leyla Birlik, Selma Irmak, Abdullah Zeydan, İdris Baluken, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Ziya Pir, Gülser Yıldırım and Nursel Aydoğan.
A video released by the HDP’s official Twitter account in Turkish showed that police officers entered Yüksekdağ’s house after breaking the lock on the door. Yüksekdağ and other HDP officials are seen resisting the police as they attempt to detain her.
Demirtaş tweeted that police had appeared at his house in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey. The state-run Anadolu news agency reports he and his co-chair, Figen Yuksekdag, who was detained in Ankara, had refused to testify in a probe carried out by the Diyarbakir Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The midnight raid was first tweeted by her adviser, Sıtkı Görür, who said: “Police raided home of HDP Co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ in Ankara. They are breaking down the door now.”
Earlier in 2016, rules granting politicians parliamentary immunity were lifted under the state of emergency currently in place in Turkey.
Turkey accuses the HDP of links to Kurdish militant group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Turkey.
Internet blockage follows detentions
Turkish authorities blocked access to Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube following the detentions.
According to the TurkeyBlocks monitoring network, it has detected restrictions on access to multiple social media services throughout Turkey beginning Friday, Nov 4, 2016, at 1:20 a.m. local time. TurkeyBlocks monitoring probes have identified throttling at the ISP level as the source of slowdowns, with the majority of Internet users affected at the time of measurement.