As part of a widening government crackdown on the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the co-mayors of İpekyolu in the eastern Turkish province of Van have been arrested, according to Turkish media reports.
Co-mayors Azim Yacan and Şeyzade Kurt, who are from the HDP, were detained in police raids on their homes on Nov. 8. The co-mayors, who appeared in court on Monday, were put in pretrial detention on terrorism charges.
Following the detention of the mayors last week, İpekyolu District Governor Sinan Aslan was appointed as the city’s acting mayor by the Interior Ministry.
Ankara accuses the HDP of links to militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It has now replaced around 15 mayors from the HDP on alleged links to terrorism since the municipal elections in March.
In August Turkey first removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, three metropolitan cities won by the HDP.
All the mayors, who were democratically elected in local elections on March 31, have been removed from office by Turkey’s Interior Ministry.
The controversial practice of removing and arresting mayors was also widely implemented during Turkey’s two-year-long state of emergency following an attempted coup in 2016.