DBP mayor and aide detained in Erzurum

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Mehmet Sait Karabakan

Pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Karayazı district Mayor Mehmet Sait Karabakan and his deputy Zeynep Han Bingöl were detained on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Erzurum province, CNNTürk reported.

Police raided and searched the Karayazı Municipal Services Building while Karabakan and Bingöl were taken to police headquarters in Erzurum.

Earlier on Tuesday police detained the DBP’s Kayapınar district Mayor Ali Aydın and Yenişehir district Mayor Selim Kurbanoğlu in Diyarbakır province as part of a terrorism investigation.

Seferi Yılmaz, the DBP co-mayor of the Şemdinli district in Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari, was arrested on Monday on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent months. According to a Turkey Purge report on Monday, the government has arrested a total of 45 co-mayors from the DBP in the past couple of weeks and has seized the administration of 35 municipalities, replacing 38 Kurdish mayors in eastern Turkey.

The Turkish government arrested 10 deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) last month.

Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with jailed PKK chief Abdullah Öcalan for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015. Since then, there have been heavy clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces.

More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

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