Turkey detains four more pro-Kurdish mayors, removes them from office in crackdown

Sezai Temelli, co-chairman of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, speaks to the media in Diyarbakir, Turkey, after the mayors of the cities of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van -- members HDP -- were sacked over alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. (File photo: AP)

Turkish authorities on Friday detained four more elected mayors from Turkey’s mainly Kurdish populated east and southeast regions, the state-run news agency reported, as the government pressed ahead with its crackdown on a pro-Kurdish party it accuses of links to Kurdish militants.

The mayors from the People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, were detained at their homes, removed from office and replaced with government-appointed trustees, Anadolu Agency reported.

The government accuses the party of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The HDP denies the accusation.

The four mayors were elected to office in local elections last year in the cities of Igdir and Siirt as well as in Siirt’s districts of Baykan and Kurtalan.

Some 45 other mayors have been removed from office since local elections in March 2019, and 21 of them have been imprisoned on terror-related charges.

Seven former HDP lawmakers, including former chairman Selahattin Demirtas, are also in prison.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch has criticized Turkey’s crackdown against the mayors, saying it amounts to a violation of voters’ rights.

The PKK is considered a terror organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02