By Sengul Oymak
KOCAELI, Turkey (AA) - Turkish police have arrested a total of 19 suspects in northwestern Turkey for their alleged links to PKK terrorist group, a police official said on Friday.
The counter-terrorism operation was conducted to arrest 21 suspects, who are accused of making terror propaganda on the social media in Kocaeli province, said the official, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Among the arrested were district heads of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and Democratic Regions Party (DBP), the official added.
Police seized pictures of the PKK head Abdullah Ocalan as well as posters praising PYD-YPG, according to the source.
The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015.
Since then, it has been responsible for the deaths of more than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including women and children.
On Jan.20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK -- a Syrian affiliated group of PKK -- and Daesh terrorist groups from Afrin.
The Turkish General Staff has said the Afrin operation was aimed at establishing security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as protecting the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
It said the operation was being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law.
The military also said "utmost diligence" was shown to avoid collateral damage to civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Bashar Assad regime left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.