Five people, who on Tuesday allegedly attacked the district building of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and injured two people, were detained in the southeastern district of Kulp, Turkish media outlets reported on Tuesday.
The alleged attackers reportedly included some village guards whose relatives were killed on September 12 in a mine attack in the district.
Turkey’s pro-government media blamed the blast on the HDP which is also accused by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group which has waged a three-decade insurgency in the country.
Following the blast, the HDP mayoral officials – Co-Mayor Fatma Ay, Co-Mayor Mehmet Fatih Tas, Technical Works Director Sener Aktas, District Co-Chair Abidin Karaman and District Co-Chair Mehmet Metin As – were taken into custody as part of an investigation into the explosion.
However, the Diyarbakir branch of the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD) said in a statement released last week that the HDP members had not been directly accused of anything regarding the incident.
On September 17, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP government appointed a state trustee as the district mayor, replacing the detained HDP co-mayors.
At the time, the party described the arrests as “a perception [management] operation rather than a serious investigation.”
Following the guards’ attack, an HDP delegation paid a visit to the savaged HDP building on the same day.
Speaking to reporters after the visit, the Diyarbakir HDP Provincial Head Zeyat Ceylan said the AKP was trying to tie the HDP into the mine attack.
“Those, who try to criminalize the HDP, [also] form a basis for the attacks on the party. That is why a great attack on our district building took place today. They [the AKP officials] deliberately try to link the HDP with violence. However, the public knows that the HDP have no links to violent acts,” Ceylan said.
Kulp, a town of 37,000 people, is known for its large number of village guards, a loyalist Kurdish security militia group set up to counter the PKK in 1985.
Thanks to their local knowledge, the guards were used to help the Turkish armed forces fight the PKK particularly in the mountains. However, over time, abuses abounded as many village guards used their weapons and powers to settle local scores.