38 people taken into custody during the operation against the Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK) on 13 January were interrogated at the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) Courthouse on Monday (16 January). Three people were released and 35 people were taken to court with the request for their arrest. The KCK was founded by Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The detentions happened during the latest series of crackdowns on provincial and district offices of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the head office of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Public Employees (KESK) and various non-governmental organizations at 123 addresses in 17 different provinces.
The people detained included former Democratic People Party (DEHAP) Chairman Tuncer Bakırhan, former MP and BDP Deputy Co-Chair Fatma Kurtulan and Dicle News Agency (DİHA) Ankara reporter Murat Çiftçi.
On the same day, BDP Deputy Co-Chair Filiz Koçali was taken into custody and later released by reason of a trial that was concluded in October 2010.
BDP Co-Chair Gültan Kışanak, BDP Iğdır MP Pervin Buldan, Istanbul Deputy Sebahat Tuncel, Batman Deputy Ayla Akat Ata and Kars Deputy Mülkiye Birtane paid a visit to the persons in custody.
In a statement issued in front of the courthouse, Kışanak stated that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was using legal and state resources to finish the BDP off. She claimed that pro-AKP media was being used in order to make the prosecutions look legitimate.
According to Kışanak, the people in custody were charged with having read meeting notes of the imprisoned PKK leader Öcalan.
“These notes have been published by all press and publication outlets for eleven years. If it was a crime to read them, the government would have committed a crime too”.
This article has been lightly edited.