Turkish police have arrested 235 people across the country after a double bombing outside Besiktas football stadium in Istanbul on Saturday (10th December) left at least 44 dead, including 36 police officers and eight civilians. At least 150 others were injured in the attacks, which were claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK).
The TAK is aligned with the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK) which has been engaged in conflict within Turkey for decades. The Turkish government has carried out extensive attacks on Kurd-dominated areas in the southeast of Turkey over the last few months, and conducted air raids on Kurd militant positions in Iraq on Sunday (11th December) in response to the Besiktas bombings.
Turkey's interior ministry said Monday's raids were carried out in 11 provinces across the country. Those arrested are reportedly linked to the TAK, PKK and other Kurdish groups, including the mainstream opposition Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP).
The arrest of 10 HDP officials in November provoked an international outcry. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz is now threatening to block Turkey's proposed accession to the EU as a result, the Independent reports.
Saturday's bombings caused widespread outrage in Turkey and have been condemned by the HDP. HDP head Selahattin Demirtaş - who is currently in custody, awaiting trial - said in a statement published by The Guardian: "I call upon all our society, our people, to stand together in hope around opposition to violence, and [in] peace, sisterhood and brotherhood, democracy and freedom."
Speaking about the attacks on Sunday, President Recep Erdogan vowed revenge, saying: "No one should have any doubt about our fight against terrorism. We are the owners of this country and will not leave it to those scum if they aim to scare us with such attacks."