Kurd party says Turkey arrests aimed at silencing critics

December 28, 2011 18:08


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ANKARA - Turkey's main Kurdish party on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government of seeking to neutralize opponents before planned constitutional reforms by ordering the arrests of scores of Kurdish activists for suspected links with armed separatist militants.

Hasip Kaplan, deputy parliamentary group leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), said 5,000 BDP members had been arrested in nationwide raids, part of a government plan to "carry out genocide of political opponents". The International Crisis Group, in a September report, put the figure of those detained at 3,000 and there have been further arrests since.

The BDP formed a parliamentary block of 29 deputies in the national assembly after a parliamentary election in June, in which Erdogan's AK Party won a third consecutive term in office.

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