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Yuksekdag's party appeals for solidarity after mass arrests in Ankara

FIGEN YUKSEKDAG’s Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) issued an appeal for international solidarity today as more than 20 of its members were detained in raids by Turkish security services.

Operations took place in the Turkish capital Ankara in the early hours of the morning, with 23 party members, including a press officer for the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), of which the ESP is a constituent member, hauled in.

In a statement, the ESP condemned the “fascist terror regime” of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and vowed to “continue the struggle for justice and freedom with our heads held high.”

The party, which was founded by Ms Yuksekdag in 2010, plays an important role in the HDP and has led efforts towards uniting resistance against the ruling Justice and Development Party and the neofascist Nationalist Movement Party.

The ESP forms part of a new coalition of forces including Partizan, the Revolutionary Party and the Democratic Regions Party — the latter a sister party of the HDP which contests municipal elections.

The ESP was targeted by the state on the same date last year, with scores of its leading members detained and the offices of its ETHA news agency raided, with equipment destroyed.

In January, ESP member Gokhan Gunes was abducted in broad daylight in Istanbul and held in a dungeon for five days, during which time he was electrocuted and threatened with rape by state operatives who identified themselves as “the invisibles.”

ESP co-chair Ozlem Gumustas said the party was deliberately targeted on the anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of Turkey, which was established in Baku on September 10 1920.

She told the Morning Star that it had become “a tradition for the fascist regime” to target the ESP on this date and increase state oppression.

In doing so the government aims to “suppress the demands of workers, labourers, women, youth, LGBTI+ [people], Kurds and Alevis for political freedom.

“Our party, ESP, which is fighting for the political freedom of the working class and the oppressed, is one of the main targets of fascist attacks,” she said.

Proceedings are under way to shut down the HDP, which is the only real opposition to Mr Erdogan in the Turkish parliament.

The arrests of ESP members are seen as part of this broader state repression and the stifling of democracy by the Turkish state, which Ms Gumustas asserted was a reaction to its inability to govern.

She called for “the world working class and the oppressed to be in solidarity with our party.”

Messages of solidarity can be sent to gikderuk@gmail.com.

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