Turkish police on Monday detained four Kurdish mayors, including the chief executive of Turkey’s largest predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakır, after first removing them from office in a recent controversial move, according to Turkish media reports.
Former Diyarbakır Mayor Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı, who was fired by an Interior Ministry decision on Aug. 19, was detained at his home following a police raid on Monday morning. Mızraklı is from the ranks of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Kayapınar co-Mayor Keziban Yılmaz, Bismil co-Mayor Gülcan Özer and Kocaköy district co-Mayor Rojda Nazlıer, who had all previously been removed from office in Diyarbakır province, were also taken into custody on Monday.
On Aug.19 Mızraklı, Mardin Mayor Ahmet Türk and Van Mayor Bedia Özgökçe Ertan were sacked due to ongoing investigations into them, according to a statement from the Turkish Interior Ministry.
Although all the mayors were democratically elected in a nationwide local election held on March 31, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accuse the HDP mayors of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.