Main opposition mayor arrested, accused of terror links in Turkey

Turkey’s secular main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has vowed to stand beside a mayor it says police arrested on terrorism charges, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.

The CHP said in a news conference that İbrahim Burak Oğuz, the party’s mayor for Izmir’s Urla district, had been arrested over suspected links to the outlawed Gülen religious movement.

The party’s Izmir provincial chairman, Deniz Yücel, rejected the accusations and said there was no way the CHP could play host to the Gülen group, which the Turkish government blames for the coup attempt in 2016. The group’s leader Fethullah Gülen denies any involvement in the failed putsch.

“We are standing by our mayor and monitoring the legal process. Our lawyers are taking the necessary steps. We will challenge the decision to arrest (Oğuz) at the earliest opportunity,” Yücel said.

“We believe our mayor will be free and cleared of these charges very soon,” he said.

Oğuz was voted in as Urla mayor in the local elections on March 31 with 67 percent of the vote.

He is the first mayor from the CHP elected this year to face charges. But the main pro-Kurdish opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has seen 30 of its mayors dismissed over alleged links to Kurdish insurgent groups deemed by the state to be terrorists.

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