Police Raids Across Turkey After Attack

ISTANBUL (AP) -- Turkey's police rounded up more than 100 members of a Kurdish political party on Monday as the country mourned the dozens killed in a bombing attack near an Istanbul soccer stadium.

Police detained 37 individuals linked to the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, in morning raids in Istanbul and the capital, Ankara, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

State-run television channel TRT said 58 were detained in the port city of Mersin and 51 in Sanliurfa in the southeast. All were rounded up for alleged terrorism links.

The reports did not specify whether those detained were suspected of involvement in the Saturday bombing that killed 44 people and wounded more than 140 others.

Health Minister Recep Akdag said Monday the fatalities included 36 police officers and eight civilians. Funeral ceremonies continued in Istanbul with top officials in attendance.

The attack following a Turkish Super League match caused deep shock in the soccer-loving nation and triggered patriotic demonstrations denouncing terrorism.

Taxi drivers drove round the recently inaugurated Besiktas stadium, named after the team and neighborhood, waving Turkish flags.

Scores of demonstrators marched near Istanbul's main police station to denounce the twin bombings in a rally organized by a union.

Demonstrator Gulay Firat said she wanted for widows and widowers and orphans to be avenged. "No one can tear this country apart," she told The Associated Press.

"Damn the PKK" and "We don't want the PKK in parliament" chanted the crowd, calling for the reintroduction of the death penalty.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish authorities accuse the HDP of supporting terrorism and having ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

The party, which was democratically elected into parliament in 2014, denies the accusation. Its two leaders are currently behind bars on terrorism-related charges.

Turkey is facing renewed conflict with Kurdish rebels in the southeast and has suffered a string of suicide bombings this year.

A Turkey-based Kurdish faction, known as the Freedom Falcons Movement, claimed responsibility for the twin bombings shortly after the end of a soccer match.

Known as TAK, the shadowy group is considered as an offshoot of the PKK. It has also claimed two suicide bombing attacks in Ankara this year.

The group says its actions are revenge for state violence in the southeast and for the detention of Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK leader and ideologue.

The decades-long conflict between PKK and the Turkish state has killed tens of thousands. Violence resumed after the collapse of peace talks in 2015.

(KA)