The Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) and the Social Freedom Platform (TÖP) protested the arrest of nine people in the course of a police operation. About 50 members of the SDP and the TÖP gathered at Istanbul's Galatasaray Square at 12.30 pm on Tuesday (21 September) to issue a press release against the operation.
Also the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) criticized the operation as "illegal and anti-democratic" in a statement made to the press. The BDP called for the release of the people taken into police custody.
According to the information conveyed in the press release of SDP and TÖP, the police raided the SDP Istanbul Provincial Building and the Kadıköy (Istanbul) District Centre at 5.00 am on Monday morning (20 September). Subsequently, a police team sent from Istanbul to Bursa (south-eastern Marmara region) arrested SDP General Chair Rıdvan Turan, Social Freedom newspaper writer Oğuzhan Kayserilioğlu, SDP Deputy Chair Ecevit Piroğlu, SDP Central Steering Board Member Ulaş Bayraktaroğlu, SDP Party Assembly Member İbrahim Turgut, SDP members Sultan Seçik and Özgür Cafer Kalafat, Social Freedom newspaper writer Tuncay Yılmaz and Social Freedom subscriber Semih Aydın.
The spokespersons of the Socialist Democratic Party announced that the arrested people stand accused of "being connected to the Revolutionary Headquarters [Terrorist] Organization". Apparently, "a team equipped with ski masks and bulletproof vests created a total mess in the party building" and confiscated "the computers in the building and many graphical and written materials", said SDP Istanbul Provincial Chair Yasemin Deliduman.
Deliduman claimed that the allegations were not true: "They are trying to put our party under pressure with these actions because we supported the boycott [of the referendum on the constitutional reform package]. We were anticipating raids and arrests after the referendum but it happened sooner than we expected."
The "Revolutionary Headquarters" organization made the headlines when it assumed responsibility for the explosion of a parcel bomb in the Istanbul Provincial Building of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in December 2008, and for the explosion of a hand-made mortar at the Üsküdar (Istanbul) 1st Army Command in August earlier that year.
Orhan Yılmazkaya, alleged leader of the organization, was killed in a raid on a private home in Bostancı (Istanbul) on 27 April 2009. One policeman and a young bystander were killed in the course of the operation as well. (EK/VK)
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