Two more Kurdish mayors arrested in southeastern Turkey

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In an ongoing crackdown on elected mayors from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), two district co-mayors in the southeastern Turkish province of Muş have been arrested on terrorism charges.

Bulanık district mayor Adnan Topçu and Varto district mayor Ülkü Karaaslan, who were detained in police operations on Wednesday, were arrested on Thursday after appearing in court. They are accused of membership in a terrorist organization and spreading the propaganda of a terrorist organization.

Ankara accuses the HDP of links to militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It has now replaced around 30 mayors from the HDP on alleged links to terrorism since 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.

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