World

Turkey detains 118 over links to terror group

ISTANBUL: Turkish police have detained 118 people in raids across the country, targeting officials from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) over allegations of links to Kurdish militants, state-run Anadolu agency said yesterday.

The operations were launched after an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on Sunday claimed responsibility for twin bombings that killed 44 people and wounded 166 outside an Istanbul football stadium.

Hours after that claim, Turkish warplanes carried out air strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, destroying a headquarters of the militants and surrounding gun positions and shelters, an army statement said.

Around dawn, about 500 police, backed by armoured vehicles and a helicopter, launched an operation in the southern city of Adana and detained 25 HDP officials, Anadolu said.

Counter-terror police teams in Istanbul took into custody 20 HDP officials, including its provincial head. They also carried out searches at various addresses, including the party's main offices in the city, the agency said.

The top HDP official in Ankara was among 17 people held in raids in the capital, it said, adding 51 others were detained in the southern city of Mersin, and five in the north-western province of Manisa.

The leaders of the HDP, the second-largest opposition grouping in parliament, have already been jailed pending trial over alleged ties to the PKK, and Ankara regularly accuses the HDP of being an extension of the militant group.

The PKK is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the European Union. - REUTERS

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