Pro-Kurdish district mayor in Ağrı arrested on terror charges

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A pro-Kurdish district mayor in the eastern province of Ağrı has been arrested as part of a terrorism probe.

Pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) mayor in Ağrı’s Tutak district Fırat Öztürk was among 18 people who were detained in a police operation on Jan. 23 on charges of “aiding and abetting a terror organization.”

The government removed Öztürk from his post on Jan.12 and appointed Tutak district governor Erkan İsa Erat as a trustee to the Tutak Municipality.

Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent months. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges.

Turkish courts also arrested 11 pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies including the party’s co-chairs in late 2016.

The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.

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