Sun, Nov 06, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Turkey jails Kurdish party leaders as attack kills nine

AFP and Reuters, ANKARA and DIYARBAKIR, Turkey

Turkey on Friday jailed the two leaders of the country’s main pro-Kurdish party and several other members of parliament, in an unprecedented crackdown as a bombing killed nine in the Kurdish-dominated southeast.

A court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir remanded in custody Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) coleaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag after they were detained along with 10 of its members of parliament, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Including Demirtas and Yuksekdag, nine of the 12 HDP members of parliament were placed under arrest by the courts pending a trial in hearings that lasted throughout the day.

ARRESTED

Turkish authorities yesterday ordered the formal arrest pending trial of nine executives and journalists of a leading opposition newspaper following their detention on Monday last week, broadcaster NTV said.

The detention of the editor and senior staff of Cumhuriyet over the secularist newspaper’s alleged support for a failed coup in July was described by a top EU politician as the crossing of a red line against freedom of expression.

The US and EU both raised alarm over the arrests, which marked a new escalation of the clampdown under the state of emergency imposed in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt.

Hours after Demirtas and Yuksekdag were detained, a blast blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) struck outside a police station in Diyarbakir, Turkey’s main majority-Kurdish city.

Nine people were killed, including two police, and more than 100 were wounded, Anadolu said. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the PKK had again shown its “ugly face” with the attack.

However, the Amaq news agency, which is linked to the Islamic State group, said that its fighters were behind the bombing, the SITE Intelligence Group said.

In an audio message released earlier this week, reclusive Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi broke a nearly year-long silence to call for attacks against Turkey.

CENSORED

With tensions again escalating nearly four months after July’s failed coup, authorities slapped restrictions on social media and messaging services like WhatsApp.

Users were also reporting severe problems accessing Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites, media correspondents and Internet users said.

Yildirim confirmed the move, saying such measures were imposed from “time to time” as a precaution and would be lifted once the danger had passed.

The turbulence also battered the Turkish lira. It was trading at 3.16 to the US dollar, after earlier hitting new historic lows and losing nearly 1.5 percent in value on the day.

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