UPDATE - Over 65 PKK/KCK suspects arrested across Turkey

Suspects were spreading propaganda, planning to hold demonstrations in support of terrorist group’s leader


By Necat Hazar

VAN, Turkey (AA) - Over 65 people were arrested as part of PKK/KCK counter-terrorism raids across Turkey, police sources said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Van Provincial Security Directorate said police carried out simultaneous operations in the province to apprehend 20 PKK/KCK suspects. 18 of them were arrested as part of the raids.

According to the statement, the suspects were planning to hold street demonstrations to protest both the anniversary of the 1999 arrest of Abdullah Ocalan, the convicted leader of the terrorist organization PKK, and the ongoing Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria.

The PKK -- recognized as a terrorist group by the U.S., the EU, and Turkey -- is responsible for the deaths of more than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including women and children, since July 2015 alone.

Police also rounded up 17 suspects in the northwestern Balikesir province for allegedly spreading terror propaganda on social media against Operation Olive Branch, the governorship said on Tuesday.

Hunt for four people are ongoing, it added.

Another 17 suspects -- including opposition People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) provincial heads and members -- were arrested in southern Hatay province for allegedly promoting PYD/PKK/KCK/YPG propaganda.

The suspects were also allegedly trying to defame ongoing Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syrian region of Afrin, a police source said.

Counter-terrorism raids also saw 11 suspects arrested in eastern Malatya province on Tuesday.

The suspects were spreading propaganda of PKK/KCK terror group, attending funerals of terrorists, holding press briefings and attending marches, said the police source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

In central province of Kayseri, 6 suspects were arrested for allegedly spreading PYD/PKK terror group’s propaganda, another police source said.

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