[Ed. – This isn’t a random desperation move. Erdogan is preparing for a bigger one, which is likely at a minimum to be about silencing his internal opposition completely, and posturing his internal “security” to allow greater projection of power into Syria and Iraq. Part of this is due to Erdogan’s own aspirations, which he has had all along. The timing is largely driven by the fact that Iran is basically taking over Iraq, and is on the march in Syria and Lebanon as well.]
A Turkish court ordered the nation’s most prominent Kurdish lawmakers jailed, sharply escalating a crackdown personally led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and sending markets tumbling over fears of renewed violence and a possible rupture with the West.
Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP by its Turkish initials, were two of 11 members of parliament to be detained in overnight raids on Friday. Erdogan accuses the party of close links to separatist PKK rebels and in May, at the president’s request, parliament passed a law stripping HDP lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution, enabling them to be charged with terrorism-related offenses.
The sweep comes amid an extraordinary assault on all forms of opposition in Turkey after a July 15 attempted coup. The government has sacked tens of thousands of civil servants for links to an Islamic movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the government says masterminded the failed putsch. But the crackdown soon extended beyond the Gulen network, as more than 100,000 people were fired from their jobs, suspended or detained in the months following the botched putsch, including prominent journalists, activists and academics with no known connection to Gulen’s group.