Dismissed pro-Kurdish HDP mayor arrested over terror links in southeast Turkey
A former pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) district mayor in Turkey’s southeastern province of Mardin was arrested on Sunday over membership in a terrorist organisation, news site T24 reported.
The former co-mayor of Kızıltepe, Nilüfer Elik Yılmaz, who was removed from duty and replaced with government appointed official earlier this month, was arrested for membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), it said.
Yılmaz is one of tens of HDP mayors elected in the March local elections that have removed from duty as part of a crackdown against the group by the Turkish government.
The Turkish government accuses the HDP of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interest of the outlawed PKK. The HDP denies any links.
The PKK is an outlawed group that has fought for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984.
Ankara has intensified a crackdown on the Kurdish political movement since peace talks with the PKK broke down in 2015. HDP lawmakers and mayors have frequently been dismissed from their roles or faced legal charges for alleged PKK links in the years since.
A total of 25 HDP mayors have been dismissed over terror charges and replaced with a government appointee since the March polls in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast.