ISTANBUL: Authorities in Turkey arrested 718 people with alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in house raids across 40 provinces on Monday.
In the last two days, 143 more people were taken into police custody.
The arrest wave followed the tragic killing of 13 Turkish soldiers during a cave raid in northern Iraq by PKK militants.
Those arrested include officials from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and officials from the Solidarity Association of the Families of the Prisoners and the Sentenced.
Warnings about the imminent operation were given on Sunday through statements by Devlet Bahceli, leader of the nationalist MHP, the coalition ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party.
“From now on, nothing will be the same as before. Whoever attempts to justify and rear the traitors who fired a bullet into the heads of the innocent should know that he/she participated in the murders willingly. And he/she is a terrorist,” Bahceli tweeted.
The countrywide operation took place on the 22nd anniversary of the capture of former PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in Kenya. He has been jailed in the heavily fortified Turkish prison island of Imrali for more than two decades.
Among those taken into custody was a man who had sent money to his imprisoned brother between 2010 and 2020. He was arrested on charges of financing a terror group.