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Istanbul Police Department's Anti-Terrorism Unit conduct a riot and special operation supported anti-terror operation in 16 districts in Istanbul, Turkey, March 16, 2016
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images

Turkish police targeting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) launched raids across Istanbul on Wednesday, detaining 20 people, including lawyers.

Anti-terrorist police, supported by helicopters, descended simultaneously on 32 locations in the city, Reuters reported, citing the state-run Anadolu Agency. As the operation unfolded, fighting between the PKK and security forces continued in southeast Turkey.

Turkish officials said there are strong indications that Kurdish rebels carried out a car-bombing Sunday that killed 37 people in the capital, Ankara. No group has claimed responsibility, but hours after the attack, Turkey launched airstrikes against Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq and authorities detained suspects.

Wednesday’s raids also follow the arrest of three Istanbul-based academics on charges on “terrorist propaganda,” according to the Associated Press. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the definition of terrorism should be broadened to include those “who use their position and pen to serve the aims” of terrorists.


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