IS group claims responsibility for Turkey attack

As the hearings got underway, a blast by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) struck outside a police station nearby in the Baglar district of Diyarbakir, Turkey's main majority Kurdish city.

"Extremely anxious for arrest of HDP Demirtas and other HDP MPs", EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini wrote on her Twitter page.

The arrests of elected lawmakers from the HDP, which won more than five million votes at the last general election, heightened concern among Western allies about the political direction of Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and a buffer between Europe and the conflicts raging in Syria and Iraq. Lawmakers are granted immunity from prosecution, but in May, Erdogan's ruling AK Party, with support from a nationalist opposition party, lifted immunity for more than 100 lawmakers, including all but one of HDP's 59 parliament members.

"They did not respect the law."

In a statement on Twitter, still accessible in Turkey through virtual private networks (VPN), the HDP called for the worldwide community "to react against the Erdogan regime's coup", while party spokesman Ayhan Bilgen described the detentions as an attempt to provoke a civil war.

"The overnight arrests of politicians and lawmakers from the Kurdish HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) represent a further drastic intensification of the situation in the eyes of the foreign minister", ministry spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli told a government news conference. At the meeting, which Mogherini participated in via video conference, the European Union envoys agreed to give a joint reaction over the detentions.

"This is a sword hanging over every deputy's head", said Ertugrul Kurkcu, an HDP member facing 15 indictments, including terror charges, who is in Bulgaria observing elections as part of an official Turkish delegation.

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The yield on 10-year government bonds climbed to a more than five-month high and Turkish equities fell the most in the world, according to Bloomberg data.

"It is therefore necessary to formally communicate the government's position to the Turkish government", said the source. "What are they [Turkish government] aiming for?"

The US, whose traditionally close relationship with Turkey has been strained in recent months, said it was "deeply troubled" by the arrests. This country is not China or the U.S.

"Very bad news from Turkey". Sources said an extraordinary political committee meeting will now be held in Brussels to discuss the situation and further steps to be taken by the European Union and its member states.

"This comes on the heels of what appears to be an increase in official pressure on opposition media outlets in Turkey", spokesman Josh Earnest said. Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni expressed "concern" over the detentions. Tensions have been building between Germany and Turkey on a range of issues.

Earlier this week, authorities also detained the chief editor and senior staff members of a leading opposition newspaper for allegedly supporting terror organisations. "Again", in a Twitter message.

Tom Malinowski, the US assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, tweeted that he was "deeply troubled" by the detentions, adding: "When taking legal action against elected reps, democracies have higher duty to justify actions & preserve confidence in justice".

  • Megan Austin