Pro-Kurdish HDP co-mayors among six detained in police raid in southeastern Turkey

Turkish police on Wednesday detained six members of pro-Kurdish parties, including two co-mayors from the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey.

The co-mayor of Nusaybin in the southeastern province of Mardin, Ferhat Kut, and the co- mayor of Bismil in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, Gülşen Özer, were among the six detained in a police raid on numerous homes in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Gazete Karinca reported.

HDP general assembly member Sedat Ay, HDP assembly member for the eastern province of Diyarbakır, Nursel Örmek, as well as Democratic Regions Party (DBP) provincial co-chair Şehmus Sun were also among those detained in connection with an investigation by the Mardin Chief Public Prosecutor’s office, it said.

Lawyers for the Kurdish politicians said they were unable to obtain information on the files of their clients due to restrictions placed on the investigation.

HDP politicians are accused by Ankara of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interest of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been in war in Turkey for over three decades. Ankara has intensified a crackdown on the group after a peace process between Turkish security forces and the PKK broke down in July 2015.

The party’s former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and  Figen Yüksekdağ have been arrested on charges of conducting terrorist propaganda and membership in a terrorist organisation.