INTRODUCTION: In Turkey, the military arrested more than 200 Kurdish separatists in a series of raids on Thursday (18 June).
GV INTERIOR Chief Judge and officials at bench
GV Defendant giving testimony as other 88 defendants watch, seated behind barrier with military guard (2 shots)
SCU Chief Judge talking
GV Same defendant talking
SV & GV Defendants seated (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In Turkey, the military arrested more than 200 Kurdish separatists in a series of raids on Thursday (18 June). Thousands of weapons were also seized in the country-wide operation. The arrests were made as the trial of other Kurdish dissidents continues in Diyarbakir, South West Turkey. Nearly 90 defendants are facing charges of attempting to take over the region surrounding Diyarbakir. Prosecutors have already demanded death sentences for some, and hundreds more are still being held in custody for interrogation.
SYNOPSIS: The trial began in April.
It opened with allegations from defendants of torture, overcrowding, and filthy prison conditions. The Kurdish Workers' Party members were said to have plotted to annexe the province in which they live, near the border with Iran and Iraq. They financed the plot through banditry and extortion, according to the military. The trial is expected to last for several weeks.
The judge also heard allegations that the party had murdered nearly 250 people.
Most of the defendants are poorly educated farm workers or are unemployed. Their party wants the remote and backward province -- home of seven million Kurds -- freed from Turkish rule. It is one of several groups fighting for Kurdish independence.