Turkey arrests pro-Kurdish HDP mayor in eastern province of Erzurum

Turkish police on Tuesday arrested the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-mayor of the town of Karayazı in the eastern province of Erzurum on charges of membership of a terrorist organisation.

Melike Göksü was detained along with six others, including two members of the HDP municipal council, while the group was leaving Karayazı for the western province of Aydın, independent news site T24 reported.

Göksü, who was elected the co-mayor of Karayazı in March 31 local elections, was arrested on charges of membership of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on July 10, 2017 and released after spending five months behind bars. She was then given a seven-year and six-month jail sentence, which was approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals leading to the issuance of an arrest warrant.

The PKK has been fighting an armed insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984 and is labelled a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

The Turkish government accuses the pro-Kurdish HDP of acting as the political wing of the PKK, a charge the party denies.

Hundreds of HDP members and around 40 of its mayors are currently in detention, including the party’s former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.