Two pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) officials have been injured while four people have been detained by police during a protest that followed the removal of an elected mayor in Turkey’s southeast, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency (MA) reported on Tuesday.
Mehmet Zirig, the mayor of Cizre district in Turkey’s southeastern Sirnak province, was dismissed early on Tuesday by Turkish authorities as part of an ongoing investigation against him on terror charges.
The democratically elected Zirig, who has become the 13th Kurdish mayor ousted since coming to office in the March 31 local elections, was replaced with Cizre’s District Governor Davut Sinanoglu from the ruling AK Party (AKP).
“The people of Cizre will never bow to you,” the mayor said in a tweet, where he also shared a photo of the written notice sent by the Interior Ministry to inform him about the issue.
The Turkish police on Tuesday formed a barricade around a group of HDP supporters who were readying to issue a public statement over Zirig’s dismissal in front of the pro-Kurdish party’s municipal headquarters.
According to MA, a clash that then broke out between police and the protesters that resulted in the detention of four people that included officials from HDP.
Cizre’s ousted Zirig and the pro-Kurdish HDP’s Sirnak MP Nuran Imir were injured in the skirmish and taken to a hospital for treatment while police officers reportedly beat a number of other demonstrators with batons.
Leyla Guven, Hakkari MP of pro-Kurdish HDP and co-president of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), on Tuesday, said the AKP-led move to replace elected mayors with state-officials is a sign of desperation for the ruling party.
“It [AKP] is trying to continue its presence [in the political arena] by oppressing the Kurds,” the MP added.
The dismissal of Kurdish mayors within the last seven months has been based on terror charges against them that include alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Turkish government deems PKK, a militant group that has waged an armed insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984, a terror organization.
The crackdown on Kurdish politicians by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP government has gained momentum in 2015 when peace talks between Ankara and the outlawed PKK broke down.