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Turkey arrests over 100 for Kurdish rebel links


Turkish police arrested 109 people on Monday in a major new nationwide operation targeting union leaders and activists over their links to Kurdish rebels, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Police raided about 20 offices and homes in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, and about 20 other towns and cities, Anatolia said, quoting judicial sources.

The operation was part of a wider legal offensive against the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), a union regarded by the authorities in Ankara as the political wing of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Many of those who were arrested had been involved in cases defending the rights of Kurdish municipal workers, media reports said.

Ankara says the KCK wants to replace Turkish government institutions in the southeastern Anatolia region, which is majority Kurd, with its own political structures. Turkey regards the PKK as a terrorist organisation, as does the European Union and United States.

Since 2009, some 700 people have been detained over alleged links to the KCK, according to government figures. Kurdish media put the figure at around 3,500.