Dismissed Kurdish mayor charged with membership of a terrorist organisation

The dismissed co-mayor of Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır, Selçuk Mızraklı, was formally arrested and charged on Tuesday with membership in a terrorist organisation.

Mızraklı, who was dismissed from his post in the Kurdish-majority province on Aug. 19, is accused of being a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has fought in Turkey for Kurdish-self rule for over three decades, left-wing news site Artı Gerçek reported.

The former co-mayor of Diyarbakır was detained on Monday, along with three other district co-mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) party.

The co-mayor of Bismil, Orhan Ayaz, has been released on parole while the co-mayor of Kayapınar, Kezban Yılmaz, and the co-mayor of Kocaköy Rojda Nazlıer remain in police custody, Artı Gerçek said. 

The Turkish government says politicians from the HDP harbour sympathies and act in the interest of the PKK, and has intensified a crackdown on the Kurdish party following the collapse of peace talks with the militant group in 2015. 

Many HDP lawmakers and mayors have been dismissed or face legal charges for alleged terror links, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who were arrested in 2016.