Turkish police detain 89 for protesting against jailed PKK leader Öcalan's contact ban

Turkish police on June 12 detained 89 citizens in Istanbul and Bursa over their attempt to take part in a march protesting the contact ban imposed on jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

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As per the call of several political parties including the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), protestors on June 12 gathered in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district to protest against the contact ban imposed on jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Protestors gathered in Kadıköy as part of the march towards Gemlik district, a harbor town in the northwestern province of Bursa from where ships sail to the İmralı Island where Öcalan has been imprisoned for 22 years.

However, the police prevented the march from taking place and detained 70 protestors. Separately, 19 others were detained in Bursa. 

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu claimed that one of the HDP lawmakers amongst the protestors "attacked the police."

"Those who resisted are in custody... The name of the terrorist who punched our police is HDP deputy Saliha Aydemir. We are filing criminal complaints. Kılıçdaroğlu, you are the cause of this," Soylu on June 12 tweeted, putting the blame on the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

A new six-month was placed on Öcalan in May. The last time that the jailed PKK leader was allowed to have a phone conversation with a family member was on March 25, 2021. As for the contact with his lawyers, he was last able to meet with them in August of 2019.