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27 December, 2016

Turkey arrests senior pro-Kurdish HDP official

Turkish security forces have arrested a high-ranking official of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) over an investigation related to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group as Ankara presses ahead with a massive clampdown on members of the opposition party

A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a counter-terrorism team had detained Aysel Tugluk in the capital, Ankara, on Monday morning as part of an investigation launched by the Diyarbakir Chief Public Prosecutor's Office against the PKK and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an alliance of pro-Kurdish groups. Tugluk has been taken to police headquarters and will be later transferred to the southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

Last month, 13 HDP legislators were arrested over alleged links to the PKK militant group. Party leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag remain in custody along with eight others, waiting to stand trial on terrorism-related charges.

A shaky ceasefire between the PKK, which has been calling for an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984, and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.

Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against the PKK positions in the country’s troubled southeastern border region as well as Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and northern Syria.

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