Turkish Police Detain 30 in Crackdown on Demonstrators

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ISTANBUL -- Antiterrorism police units in Istanbul on Tuesday raided dozens of residences, including several college dormitories, in a crackdown on those who participated in widespread antigovernment demonstrations in June, detaining at least 30 people, the semiofficial Anatolia news agency said.

The Istanbul Bar Association said the police, citing terrorism laws, issued a temporary order withholding legal assistance to the detainees and denying them access to their families. Under those laws, the police can refuse to disclose the identities and ages of the detainees, as well as the charges against them, the bar association said. The police did not comment on the raids.

However, the Student Collectives, an independent youth group, said in a statement posted on its Web site that 10 of the detainees were members and that they faced allegations of inciting people to riot, attacking security forces and their vehicles, and "joining acts to damage public and personal properties."

"We gathered that detainees might include high school students and college students after a public university hostel was also among addresses being raided," said Hasan Kilic, a board member of the bar association. "If you are a government opponent, and do things differently than dictated, you are no longer safe in Turkey."

Eleven other people who took part in the demonstrations were arrested in the western city of Izmir on Tuesday and charged with belonging to several leftist terror organizations, news reports said.

Across Turkey, dozens of people, mostly youths, were detained in recent weeks after the riots, which started as a small protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's plans to raze an Istanbul park and became a broader uprising against what many called his autocratic tendencies. Riot police officers responded with tear gas and water cannons; five people died, 11 were blinded by tear gas canisters and 8,000 sustained other injuries.

On Tuesday, Berna Bakir, the sister of one of the detainees, described the arrest of her brother, Ismail Cem Bakir, 23, a computer engineering student at Istanbul Technical University, early that morning. "Plainclothes policemen, one wearing a black snow mask and filming the raid, appeared at our doorstep at 5.30 and showed us an arrest and search warrant," she said.

"My brother did the most innocent thing by defending something he believed in -- like everybody else who joined the protests, that's all," Ms. Bakir said in a telephone interview.

The police confiscated computers, books and magazines and threatened to charge Mr. Bakir's lawyer, who had come over to assist the family, after he asked the masked police officer to remove his mask for transparency's sake, Ms. Bakir said.

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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