A car bomb rocked southeastern Turkey’s largest city of Diyarbakir today, killing 9 and injuring more than a 100 The attack followed the arrests of 11 lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including the party’s two co-leaders Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas and parliamentary group leader Idris Baluken.
The government has accused the HDP of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group. The deputies were arrested for failing to answer a summons to testify as part of a counter-terrorism investigation, a security source said.
The deputies face prosecution under anti-terrorism laws after their parliamentary immunity was lifted earlier this year, along with other lawmakers from Turkey’s main political parties. Unlike deputies from other parties, the HDP lawmakers had refused to appear to testify.
Southeastern Turkey has been rocked by political turmoil and violence for more than a year after the collapse of a ceasefire with the PKK militant group, which has waged a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy.
In comments cited by the Anadolu Agency, Justice Minister, Bekir Bozdag, said today’s detentions were within the law and rejected criticism of the move.
“The lawmakers who are detained … disregarded the law,” he said. “They were sent an invitation but they don’t come. What other solution is there? It is to bring them forcibly.”
The HDP is the third-largest party in the 550-seat Turkish parliament, with 59 seats, and won more than five million votes in the November 2015 general election.
The European Union expressed concerns over the terrorist attack on a police station in Turkey’s Diyarbakir province.
“The EU is very disquieted by the ongoing violence in the southeast over the last 12 months, which cannot continue,” a written statement released by the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s office said.
The bloc expressed condolences to the families of the victims killed and wished a speedy recovery to the injured, adding that they considered the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which was behind the attack, a terrorist organisation.
“Significant action has been taken against the PKK in the European Union and its member states in the recent years and months,” according to the statement.
The statement said the EU firmly believed that all violence and terrorist attacks must stop, arms must be laid down and a credible political process should start.
“The European Union is ready to support such a process,” it added.