Pro-Kurdish Diyarbakir mayor-elect faces probe

The Chief Public Prosecutor of Diyarbakir on Friday launched a probe into pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP Selcuk Mizrakli and his comrades Berdan Ozturk and Hulya Alokmen on terrorism charges.

Mizrakli was elected mayor of the southeastern Kurdish majority Diyarbakir city in Sunday’s local election obtaining 62,93% of the votes according to unofficial results. A celebratory event was held on Thursday for the electoral victory of HDP with the participation of newly elected district mayors.

During the celebration, one minute’s silence was allegedly held for those killed fighting for the armed insurgency waged by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK is deemed as a terrorist organization by Turkish authorities, thus subsequently the prosecution announced an extensive probe into the event to be conducted in tandem with ongoing investigations faced by two HDP MPs and Mizrakli, who is already on trial over terror charges. If convicted he faces up to 22 years in prison.

The announcement of the probe came following the reports of an investigation launched into the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) newly elected mayor for the Torbali district in the Aegean coastal Izmir city, Ramazan Ismail Uygur, on charges of insulting the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Uygur is accused by the ministry of making insulting and threatening remarks against Erdogan.

President Erdogan has been wielding a discourse that equates HDP with PKK, therefore criminalizing the pro-Kurdish party.

Erdogan also accused CHP and its ally the Good Party of forging a secret alliance with HDP for the municipal race in big cities. Erdogan held over a hundred rallies across Turkey, accusing the opposition of associating with terrorists.

Although Erdogan and his nationalist ally secured the majority of the votes on Sunday, opposition dealt a blow to the ruling AK Party by winning the race in the majority of the big cities including Ankara and Istanbul.

The overwhelming majority of mayors in Kurdish-majority cities elected during the 2014 local election were deposed and replaced with government-appointed trustees as part of a crackdown on the HDP at the local administration level.

Erdogan and the Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu threatened the opposition’s mayoral candidates with legal action during the campaign period.

Erdogan threatens opposition candidates with arrest ahead of Sunday’s polls

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