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ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish opposition groups protested Saturday in Istanbul after the Interior Ministry shut down 370 civic groups on terrorism-related charges — organizations that included professional associations and women’s and children’s rights groups.
The organizations were told about the government decision Friday evening, when police raided their offices and collected their records.
The Interior Ministry said 153 of the organizations had alleged ties to the Gulen network, 190 to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, eight to the Islamic State group and 19 to the banned far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front, or DHKP-C.
Lawyers at the left-wing People’s Law Bureau resisted the raid, and their door was broken down by armed special forces who cleared the offices, detained four lawyers and changed the office’s locks. The four were released Saturday morning.
The Progressive Lawyers’ Association, which also was shut down, said it was not subject to such an order due to legislation protecting lawyers. Nergis Aslan, general secretary for the group, told The Associated Press the Turkish government gave no explanation for the move.
“There is serious suppression against any form of oppositional organization, association or any sort of group. We were expecting it,” she said.