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Turkey Detains 86 For Suspected Links To Kurdish Separatists

A Kurdish woman waves a PKK flag from her house in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey.
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish authorities on February 13 detained 86 people in an operation against a group suspected of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), state-run Anatolian news agency reported.

Raids took place across the predominantly Kurdish southeast of the country, but five people were also held in Turkey's largest city Istanbul.

Among those detained in the operation against the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK) group were members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Anatolian said.

The PKK, which launched an armed campaign against the Turkish state in 1984 for Kurdish autonomy, is branded a terrorist organization by Ankara, the EU, and Washington.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to expand Kurdish political rights to meet European Union membership standards and end a war with the PKK that has claimed around 40,000 lives.

But efforts to launch a so-called "Kurdish initiative" were dealt a blow last year when the Constitutional Court shut down a Kurdish party for what it said were links to the PKK.