Turkey’s government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has seized control of another elected opposition pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) controlled municipality by detaining the mayor and replacing him with a state-appointed administrator.
On Monday Ankara appointed a trustee to run the town of Diyadin in the eastern Agri district, replacing the elected co-mayor Betul Yasar, who was detained during a police raid on the municipal offices.
Yasar is the 47th HDP mayor to be removed from his post by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) regime of Erdogan since the March 2019 local government elections, in which the HDP had 65 mayors elected.
The Erdogan regime accuses HDP members of having ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency that has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people since 1984. HDP’s former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, have been in jail over terrorism charges since November 2016.
The pro-Kurdish party denounced the police operations and seizures of the municipalities and said they were undermining democratic principles. In a written statement, it said their members had been the target of “a political genocide.”
A day after seizing control of the municipality, police detained more than 50 people on terrorism-related charges in southeast Turkey.
Those detained included Musa Aydin, co-chair of a provincial branch of HDP, the Free Women Movement spokesperson Ayse Gokkan, and journalist Ayse Gunay.
During a court hearing on Tuesday, Yuksekdag, who is being tried on terrorism charges, told the court she was arrested following a “political coup which still continues.”
Turkish prosecutors have demanded she be imprisoned for between 30 and 83 years.