The Turkish Interior Ministry announced yesterday that 235 people have been arrested on charges of spreading propaganda for a terrorist group. The arrests were made against the backdrop of the bombings that took place in Istanbul on Saturday that left 44 people dead. The dead included 38 riot police and eight civilians, and 149 people were wounded.
In a statement that the Turkish Interior Ministry made, it said that the security operation began before dawn yesterday and included 11 Turkish provinces from the northwest to the southeast. Among those arrested, more than a hundred people were officials of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) which is the second largest opposition party in parliament and a supporter of Kurdish rights. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, a group that is affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which Ankara, the EU and the US has classified as a terrorist organisation, claimed responsibility for the two explosions that took place 45 seconds apart from each other outside the Besiktas football stadium on Saturday night.
The extended security crackdown came after a high-level security meeting chaired by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was held in Istanbul on Sunday evening regarding the blasts. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Deputy Prime Ministers Numan Kurtulmus, Veysi Kaynak and Tugrul Turkes, the Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag, the Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, the Foreign Minister Mouloud Jawish Davutoglu, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak, the Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and a number of officials involved in the security and intelligence services attended the meeting.