As part of an expanding crackdown on elected mayors from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), two HDP district co-mayors who were detained in an operation in the eastern province of Van on accusations of terrorism have been arrested, according to Turkish media reports.
Muradiye district co-mayor Yılmaz Şalan and Özalp district co-mayor Yakup Almaç have been arrested on charges of membership in a terrorist organization and disseminating terrorist propaganda.
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.