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Turkey detains 235 over Kurdish militant links after Istanbul blasts

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 01:12

Some 235 people are detained over alleged links to the Kurdish militants in nationwide raids, Turkish interior ministry says in a written statement. Diane Hodges reports.

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EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: RESENDING WITH REVISED VERSION TO CLARIFY THAT AN OFFSHOOT OF THE PKK HAS CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SATURDAY BOMBING This is the office of the Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, in Sanliurfa (Shan-LER-fah) Turkey. It's just one of the HDP offices across the country raided by Turkish police on Monday. They've detained at least 235 HDP members on suspicion of being linked to the Kurdish militant group, the PKK. An offshoot of the PKK has claimed responsibility for Saturday's deadly bombings. HDP spokesman Ayhan Bilgen says the government is trying to connect them to the attacks. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) HDP SPOKESMAN, AYHAN BILGEN, SAYING: "Turkish officials are trying to get public support by trying to link these detentions with the bombings in Istanbul. Those who were detained are our provincial senior party managers." Turkish officials are accusing the HDP members of "spreading terror group propaganda," another charge Bilgen denies. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) HDP SPOKESMAN, AYHAN BILGEN, SAYING: "They talk about social media posts, but these are democratic political activities." Kurdish militia groups have been fighting for autonomy from Ankara since 1984. Over the past year, Turkish officials have arrested the HDP's leaders and several thousand of its members, drawing criticism from the country's Western allies, who fear Ankara is cracking down on legitimate political opposition.

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Turkey detains 235 over Kurdish militant links after Istanbul blasts

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 01:12