Turkish authorities have arrested two district co-mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on terror-related charges.
The arrests are part of an increasing crackdown on pro-Kurdish politicians in Turkey.
According to a report by Gazete Yolculuk news portal on Monday, two pro-Kurdish co-mayors from HDP, Azim Yacan, and Sehzade Kurt, were arrested after they had been detained by police officers on November 8.
Among the charges the mayors face, are membership in a terrorist organization and making propaganda for a terrorist organization, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya (MA) news agency said.
After police officers raided the two co-mayors’ houses in the southeastern Van province early on Friday, the Turkish Interior Ministry announced that they were dismissed. The ministry said a day after the detention of Van’s Ipekyolu district co-mayors, Yacan and Kurt, that they were replaced by Sinan Aslan, the same district’s governor.
The mayors, who came into office after receiving more than half of the votes in the district in the March 31 local election, were sent to the Van T-Type Closed Prison on Monday.
Crackdown on the Kurdish political movement gained momentum in 2015 after peace talks between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) broke down.
The pro-Kurdish HDP is accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP government of acting in the interests of the PKK, armed militants who have been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for more than three decades.
Since the local election held in March, more than a dozen provincial and district mayors from the pro-Kurdish HDP have been removed from their offices, with many of them also being arrested on terror-related accusations.