Blast rocks Turkey's Diyarbakir after HDP lawmakers arrested in terror probe

An explosion on Friday rocked a central district of Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, hours after police detained 11 lawmakers from parliament's pro-Kurdish grouping.

The blast took place near a police station where lawmakers apprehended in Diyarbakir were taken, a security source said. Police overnight arrested the joint leaders of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), parliament's second-biggest opposition grouping, due to their reluctance to give testimony on crimes linked to "terrorist propaganda."

It was not immediately clear what caused the blast in the Baglar district, but the explosion resounded through the city. People were wounded, and several ambulances were dispatched to the area.

The armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey's southeast.

Turkey's Interior Ministry said detention orders for 13 MPs were issued, but only 11 were detained as two lawmakers were abroad. Lawyers had earlier said 15 MPs were detained.

Turkish police raided the Ankara house of co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and the house of co-leader Figen Yuksekdag in Diyarbakir, the party's lawyers told Reuters.

"HDP call international community to react against Erdogan Regime's coup," the party said on Twitter, referring to President Tayyip Erdogan.

Police also raided and searched the party's head office in central Ankara.

A file photo dated March 21, 2015 shows Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul lawmaker Sirri Sureyya Onder reading out a message from Abdullah Ocalan, a founder of the PKK.
Halil Ibrahim Sincar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Television images showed party officials quarreling with police during the raid, and a Reuters witness said many police cars and armed vehicles had closed the entrances to the street of the HDP headquarters.

A group of protesters chanting slogans tried to reach the party offices, but were stopped by police before they could enter the street, a Reuters witness said.

"Very bad news from Turkey. Again. Now HDP members of parliament are being detained," European Parliament's Turkey rapporteur, Kati Piri, said on Twitter.

A widespread difficulty in reaching social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook as well as messaging app WhatsApp were reported across Turkey after the detentions started at midnight.

HDP is the third largest party in the 550-seat Turkish parliament, with 59 seats. Parliamentarians in Turkey normally enjoy immunity from prosecution, but the pro-Kurdish party's immunity was lifted earlier this year.

Turkey accuses the HDP of links to the Kurdish militant group PKK, which is deemed a terrorist organisation by the United States, the European Union and Turkey.

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