Police carried out house raids early this morning (April 12) as part of a new investigation into the deadly Kobanî protests in the country’s Kurdish-majority regions in 2014.
Prosecutors issued detention warrants for 91 people, and at least 46 of them have been detained during raids in 13 provinces, Mesopotamia agency (MAO reported. The detainees include former mayors from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Releasing a statement about the investigation, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said the detentions were carried out as per Law no. 6415 on the Prevention of Financing of Terrorism.
The suspects were accused of “being involved in the financial organization of the Kobanî incidents” and “providing financial assistance to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members who were killed or injured during the incidents,” said the prosecutor’s office.
Some of the suspects were also charged with “being a member of a terrorist organization.”
There is an ongoing trial about the Kobanî incidents where 108 members of the HDP, including its former co-leaders and MPs, are facing aggravated life sentences on charges of “attempted overthrow.”
The HDP members are accused of having orchestrated the protests upon orders of the PKK.
About Kobanî protests
In September 2014, ISIS, which controlled a large territory in Syria at the time, launched an offensive to Kobanî, a Kurdish town in northern Syria, near the country’s border with Turkey.
In late September, a group of people went to Suruç, a town neighboring Kobanî in the predominantly Kurdish city of Urfa, and attempted to cross the border. Police prevented them, using tear gas and rubber bullets.
Pictures allegedly showing ISIS militia crossing into Syria were published on the same days.
Also, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made statements at the time, indicating that they equated the PKK with ISIS. While the wounded coming from Kobanî were kept waiting on the border, the wounded from ISIS were treated at hospitals, according to news reports. Several news reports were reported in the press, saying “Kobanî fell.” These news reports were denied every time.
After the HDP made a call to take to the streets against a possible massacre in Kobanî, thousands of people protested in Kurdish-majority provinces as well as Ankara and İstanbul. While left parties also supported these protests, deaths also occurred with the onset of police violence. Street conflicts ensued. 42 people lost their lives from October 6 to 12, 2014.
According to a report by the Human Rights Association (İHD), 46 people died, 682 people were wounded and 323 people were arrested in the protests held between September 7 and 12, 2014. As reported by the AA, 31 people lost their lives, 221 citizens and 139 police officers were wounded.