Pro-Kurdish HDP party co-chair arrested in Ankara | News | DW | 26.12.2016
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Pro-Kurdish HDP party co-chair arrested in Ankara

Aysel Tugluk leading member of the pro-Kurdish HDP has been arrested on terrorism charges. Tugluk had been helping other arrested HDP members with their legal battles amidst a government crackdown.

Turkey's crackdown on the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) showed no sign of slowing down on Monday after the arrest of Aysel Tugluk, deputy co-chair of the party. Tugluk was taken away by anti-terrorism police at her home in Ankara about a month after 10 HDP lawmakers were detained on charges of having ties to the outlawed militant group the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

According to German news agency DPA, Tugluk acted as a lawyer for jailed HDP leaders. The party claims that since parliamentary immunity was lifted earlier this year, the central government has systematically tried to destroy it through arrests and erroneous claims that it supports the PKK. The HDP has long denied any ties, though it has pressed the government to resume stalled peace talks.

Pro-government newspaper the Daily Sabah wrote that Tugluk would be sent to await trial in her home province of Diyarbakir after officials cleared her for travel. The report, citing an anonymous police source, said it was the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office that launched the investigation into Tugluk's activities.

On Twitter, the HDP's womens' group condemned the arrest of its co-chair as an "attack on the free will of women."

The PKK has actively promoted an autonomous Kurdish region and led an armed insurrection against the Turkish government since 1984. It has long been listed as a terror organization by the United States and the European Union. Since a ceasefire agreement collapsed last year, frequent clashes have broken out between the group's fighters and the military in the Turkey's southeast. Earlier in December, a splinter group of the PKK, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), killed 44 people in a string of attacks on Istanbul.

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