Seferi Yılmaz, the Democratic Regions Party (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.
As part of an investigation by the Hakkari Public Prosecutor’s Office, Yılmaz was detained along with Hakkari’s Çukurca district Co-mayors Hilal Duman and Servet Tunç and Yüksekova Deputy Co-mayor Adile Kozay on Saturday.
A court in Hakkari ruled for the arrest of Yılmaz over his links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Turkish government has been expanding operations against the PKK to pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and DBP members and to municipalities run by those parties.
Trustees have been appointed to over 24 municipalities run by HDP and DBP mayors. Dozens of HDP and DBP representatives and members have been detained or arrested as part of intensified operations following a failed coup attempt on July 15.
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.