Turkish police detain 50 in Kurdish militant probe

November 22, 2011 10:39


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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey - Turkish police detained at least 50 people in dawn raids across Turkey on Tuesday as part of an investigation into alleged links between Kurdish activists and separatist militants, security officials said.

Most of those detained in the latest sweep were lawyers, according to media reports.

The investigation began two years ago and hundreds of people, including elected mayors, are already standing trial on charges of ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla group.

In Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey's restive mainly Kurdish southeast, police held 30 people, including members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), officials said.

The mass detentions could handicap efforts to forge political consensus for a new constitution that was expected to partly address the issue of Kurdish rights.

Among those detained on Tuesday was a deputy mayor of a Diyarbakir district and the BDP's provincial leader. Police also searched BDP offices in the city and seized computers and documents, and set up checkpoints at entrances to the city.

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