Anti-ter­ror raids

Turk­ish po­lice de­tain Kur­dish of­fi­cials after deadly blasts

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGEN­CIES in Istanbul

Turk­ish po­lice de­tained nearly 200 of­fi­cials of pro-Kur­dish Peo­ples’ Demo­cratic Party, or HDP, on Mon­day over al­leged links to Kur­dish mil­i­tants after deadly twin week­end blasts claimed by a rad­i­cal Kur­dish group.

The raids saw 198 HDP of­fi­cials rounded up on sus­pi­cion of be­long­ing to the out­lawed Kur­dis­tan Work­ers’ Party, or PKK, or pro­duc­ing pro­pa­ganda for the group, state news agency Anadolu said.

Part of an anti-ter­ror probe, the sweep­ing ar­rest op­er­a­tion came after week­end at­tacks killed 44 peo­ple in Istanbul, in­clud­ing 36 po­lice and eight civil­ians, which were claimed by the Kur­dis­tan Free­dom Fal- cons, or TAK, seen as a rad­i­cal off­shoot of the PKK.

The PKK and the gov­ern­ment have been locked in a decades-long con­flict that has killed tens of thou­sands. Vi­o­lence re­sumed be­tween them after the col­lapse of peace talks in 2015.

Turkey de­clared a na­tional day of mourn­ing, launched a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion and paid trib­ute to the dead on Sun­day after two bomb­ings in Istanbul also wounded more than 155 oth­ers near a soc­cer sta­dium.

400 kg of ex­plo­sives

Ex­perts have de­ter­mined that up to 400 kilo­grams of ex­plo­sives were used in the car bomb.

The twin car-and-sui­cide bomb­ings on Satur­day night near the Be­sik­tas sta­dium en­raged top of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, who vowed to hunt down the per­pe­tra­tors. The at­tack was the lat­est large- scale as­sault to trau­ma­tize a na­tion con­fronting an ar­ray of se­cu­rity threats.

In a cer­e­mony for five of the vic­tims at the city’s po­lice head­quar­ters, Er­do­gan and Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim met with the fam­i­lies, look­ing on silently as the flag-draped coffins were brought in.

“Sooner or later we will have our re­venge,” In­te­rior Min­is­ter Su­ley­man Soylu told the mourn­ers. “The arm of the law is long”.

Er­do­gan vowed his coun­try would fight “the curse of ter­ror­ism till the end” after pay­ing a visit to some of the wounded at Haseki Hospi­tal in Istanbul.

Sur­rounded by a crowd chant­ing his name and “God is great!”, Er­do­gan vowed that the per­pe­tra­tors would be found and forced to “pay an even heav­ier price”.

Hun­dreds of flag-car­ry­ing demon­stra­tors marched on Sun­day along Istanbul’s coast­line to­ward the sta­dium at the heart of the blast area. Flags flew at half-staff across the coun­try and at Turkey’s for­eign mis­sions. Passers-by placed flow­ers on bar­ri­ers sur­round­ing the soc­cer sta­dium.

On the streets, peo­ple gath­ered out­side the sta­dium to lay flow­ers, many hold­ing Turk­ish flags and shout­ing “Down with the PKK!” and “Our home­land is in­di­vis­i­ble!”

“They won’t be able to di­vide Turkey, they won’t be able to break it into pieces,” said a man who gave his name only as Muammed. But there was also anger. “God curse the PKK!” said one woman in her 50s.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Fam­ily mem­bers and col­leagues on Sun­day at­tend a memo­rial for po­lice of­fi­cers killed out­side the Be­sik­tas soc­cer club sta­dium Voda­fone Arena on Satur­day in Istanbul. Turkey de­clared a na­tional day of mourn­ing after twin blasts killed dozens of peo­ple.

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