As part of an expanding crackdown on elected mayors from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), five HDP district co-mayors have been detained in the eastern province of Van on accusations of terrorism, according to Turkish media reports.
Muradiye district co-mayors Yılmaz Şalan and Leyla Balkan, Özalp co-mayors Yakup Almaç and Dilan Örenci and Başkale co-mayor Erkan Acar were detained on Friday as part of an investigation overseen by the Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Since the local elections of March 31, a total of 23 HDP mayors have been ousted from office and subsequently arrested.
Ankara accuses the HDP of links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In August Turkey first removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, three metropolitan cities won by the HDP.
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.