Saturday, November 5, 2016

Erdogan Crackdown Has Turkey on Edge as Kurd Leaders Jailed

A Turkish court ordered the nation’s most prominent Kurdish lawmakers jailed, sharply escalating a crackdown by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and sending markets tumbling over fears of renewed violence and a possible rupture with the West. 

Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP by its Turkish initials, were two of 11 members of parliament to be detained in overnight raids on Friday. Erdogan accuses the party of close links to separatist PKK rebels and in May, at the president’s request, parliament passed a law stripping HDP lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution, enabling them to be charged with terrorism-related offenses. 

The sweep is part of an ever-widening purge of Erdogan’s opponents after a July 15 attempted coup. The government has sacked tens of thousands of civil servants for links to an Islamic movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the government says masterminded the failed putsch. But the crackdown soon extended beyond the Gulen network, as more than 100,000 people were fired from their jobs, suspended or detained in the months following the botched putsch, including prominent journalists, activists and academics with no known connection to Gulen’s group. (Read More)