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Turkey shuts down social media, detains elected lawmakers from leftist, pro-Kurdish party

The Turkish government shut down access to social media on Thursday night, while detaining elected officials from the country’s third-largest party.

Right-wing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian government, which is a member of NATO and a close Western ally, raided the headquarters of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, or the HDP, a leftist, pro-Kurdish political party.

The HDP said on Twitter that at least nine of its deputies were detained, including the co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag. Their houses were raided and doors were broken down.

Demirtas tweeted, “Security forces are at my home door in Diyarbakir now, with a forced detention order.”

Journalist and analyst Mutlu Civiroglu compiled a list of at least 15 HDP members of parliament who were detained.

Access to the internet was also limited. The monitoring group Turkey Blocks said Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were blocked in the country. It reported that restrictions were also placed on the message app WhatsApp.

Since a failed coup attempt in July, the Western-allied Turkish government has purged more than 110,000 people and imprisoned nearly 40,000.

Opposition politicians from left-wing and secular parties have warned that the increasingly authoritarian President Erdogan is implementing a slow-motion counter-coup, restructuring the entire government and circumventing democracy.

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

Ben Norton.

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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