Over 90 people have their assets frozen as part of the “Kobanê investigation”

The assets of more than 90 people have been frozen in connection with the so-called “Kobanê investigation”. The court alleges their involvement in the financial structure behind the Kobanê protests of 2014.

The assets of more than 90 people have been frozen in connection with the so-called “Kobanê investigation”.

The measure was taken by order of a court in Ankara. The 91 people affected are politically active people from or linked to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), against whom an arrest order has been issued. More than half of them had already been arrested in a large-scale police operation in thirteen cities across the country early this week.

The mass arrests were ordered by the Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office for alleged "participation in the financial structure behind the Kobanê clashes and providing material assistance to the families of injured or deceased PKK members".

So far, 48 people have been arrested in cities like Mersin, Van, Adana, Istanbul, Amed and Urfa and taken to Ankara. Among the accused are also former mayors and former employees of usurped municipalities previously run by the HDP. The freezing of bank accounts and other financial assets has also been justified with the "financing terrorism" label.

Also on Friday, police custody was extended to four days at the request of the investigating public prosecutor. A confidentiality order was also imposed during the proceedings. So far it is known that the investigations are based on the statements of an anonymous witness who has already appeared under the name "Ulaş" in the ongoing "Kobanê trial" of 108 people from politics, civil society and the Kurdish liberation movement. The list includes former DBP chairmen Sebahat Tuncel, Emine Ayna and Kamuran Yüksek. Kurdish politician Sebahat Tuncel has been in prison since 2016 and has already been charged in the Kobanê trial. Emine Ayna was released in the same trial after a long period of detention. 21 people among those wanted are abroad. The HDP believes that the Turkish government wants to prevent the current Kobanê trial from collapsing with the renewed mass arrests.

"Kobanê clashes"

The "Kobanê clashes" refer to the protests of autumn 2014. When, on the evening of 6 October of that year, the Islamic State managed to penetrate the center of the western Kurdish city after 21 days of resistance from the YPG/YPJ defense units and the population of Kobanê. The HDP had to face the critical situation and called on the public to hold a protest against the Turkish government for not ending its support for ISIS. As a result, there were regular street clashes between security forces and demonstrators in many cities.

Dozens of people (the figures range from 37 according to the government to 46 according to the IHD), mostly HDP members, were killed. Over 600 participants in the protests were injured, and more than 300 ended up in custody within a few days. Most fatalities were in Amed. In addition to the police and army, supporters of the radical Islamist Turkish-Kurdish Hizbullah and its affiliated Hüda Par party also opened fire on demonstrators. The majority of those killed died in attacks by these organizations which openly sympathized with ISIS, or in subsequent clashes between activists and Islamists. Hüda Par supporters are said to have abducted protesters, tortured them and then handed them over to the police for arrest.

Names of 47 arrested

So far, not all names of the people wanted are known. 47 of the 48 people in custody in Ankara have been named as follows: Zeki Çelik, Mehmet Akın, Hafize İpek, Gülüm Bayram, Mehmet Koyuncu, Burhanettin Bedüş, Metin Kılavuz, Fazıl Türk, Selami Turhan, Hasan Uğur Çat, Ülfiye Özcan, Osman Kaya, Navaf Ok, Hüseyin Das, Fecri Tayfur, Sevim Soylu, Mehmet Mustafa Bilgiç, Şefik Özbey, Necmettin Aslan, Mehmet Sarih Zümrüt, Eyüphan Öcal, Erdal Avcı, Sonay Avcı, Fesih Yalçın, Halis Bilen, Atalay Bayrak, Hakim Güneş, Suphi Güneş, Ümit Güneş, Nizamettin Onar, Mustafa Demir, Nihat Salmış, Nihat Gezici, Murat Kaçar, Halil Aslanlı, Hüseyin Vural, Berat Anlı, Abdullah Bozkoyunlu, Kemal Ünver, Seydoş Danış, Gülşen Duran, Zana Döner, Selçuk Tazgel, Rasim Çelik, Ayşe Kaçar, Murat Demirkıran and Ilyas Tekin.