PKK#039;s political wing HDP#039;s 12 MPs held in terror probe

HDP lawmakers detained after failing to appear for testimony in terror investigation Lawmakers from the PKK's political wing, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were arrested early Friday for failing to answer a counter-terrorism investigation summons, the Interior Ministry said.

Party co-leaders Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas and parliamentary group leader Idris Baluken were among 12 deputies seized by police after prosecutors in Turkey’s east and southeast approved the arrests, the ministry said in a statement.

The arrests were carried out across Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Van, Sirnak and Bingol provinces.

Yuksekdag and Demirtas, who vowed in June not to testify, as well as deputy Sirri Sureyya Onder were referred to a court in Diyarbakir for a judge to assess the prosecution case, a security official said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media. Baluken was taken to court in Bingol.

Prosecutors have demanded all the suspects be remanded in custody pending trial, the official added.

The deputies face prosecution under anti-terrorism laws after their parliamentary immunity was lifted earlier this year.

Lawmakers from other parties also face a range of investigations but only the HDP lawmakers have refused to testify before prosecutors.

Among the charges facing the HDP lawmakers are offences of spreading terrorist propaganda in relation to comments made in October 2014, after ISIS militants entered the Syrian border town of Ayn Al-Arab.

Demirtas and other HDP figures had urged citizens to take to the streets. The ensuing week of violent demonstrations left dozens dead, including two police officers, and hundreds injured.

The government has accused the HDP of links to the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and U.S.

Other HDP deputies arrested included Ferhat Encu, Leyla Birlik, Selma Irmak, Abdullah Zeydan, Ziya Pir, Gulser Yildirim, Nursel Aydogan and Imam Tascier.

Pir was later released after being sent to court in Diyarbakir. He is under investigation on charges of making “terrorist group propaganda and praising crimes and criminals”.

Three other HDP deputies are at large, including two believed to be overseas.

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