Turkey: Thousands protest regime crackdown

Istanbul. November 20.

Despite facing one of the most oppressive atmospheres in its history, thousands of Turkish protesters took to the streets of Istanbul on November 20 against a crackdown on Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party, its lawmakers and mayors in the country’s south-east, as well as on opposition media outlets following the July coup.

At least 5000 people, mainly supporters of the left-wing pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) — which is the Turkish parliament’s second biggest opposition party — and the secular Republican People’s Party, gathered on the Asian side of Istanbul, chanting “shoulder-to-shoulder against fascism”.

Earlier this month, 10 lawmakers from the HDP, including co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested on charges of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) armed group. Last year, the Turkish government unilaterally ended peace talks with the PKK after two years of negotiations aimed at ending the decades-long conflict were called off by the government.

Several mayors in the predominantly Kurdish south-east region of Turkey were among the thousands of Kurdish politicians detained over similar accusations of links to the PKK.

Turkey declared a state of emergency after a failed coup in July. More than 110,000 people have been sacked or suspended in the military, civil service, judiciary and elsewhere, while 36,000 people have been jailed pending trial as part of the investigation into the failed putsch.

Since the attempted coup, 170 newspapers, magazines, television stations and news agencies have been shut down, leaving 2500 journalists unemployed, Turkey's journalists' association said in a statement last month.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]