Pro-Kurdish HDP mayoral candidate, officials detained

A pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) mayoral candidate for Turkey’s southeastern province of Batman and two of the party's İstanbul municipal officials were detained by police on Sunday, independent news site Diken reported.

HDP's candidate for mayor of Batman Sabri Özdemir was taken into police custody while marching towards the local HDP headquarters with a group of supporters while campaigning for the Turkey’s March 31 local elections.

Police blocked the crowd, saying they did not have permission to march while police teams were stationed in front of the party’s building.

In İstanbul, Zeytinburnu district co chair Samet Ayas and Üsküdar district co chair Hakkı Cengiz were detained over posters hanging over their respective headquarter buildings, Yeni Yaşam newspaper reported.

The HDP won 102 district and metropolitan city municipalities in the 2014 local elections. Following military operations in southeastern cities in 2015, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government dismissed the elected mayors from 95 of these districts and appointed new ones 

Ankara accuses HDP’s politicians of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interest of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group at war in Turkey for over 30 years.