Turkish security forces intensify crackdown in Kurdish southeast

Turkey is ramping up its security operations against Kurdish militants in the country’s southeast as it continues to heap legal pressures on the pro-Kurdish political party it accuses of supporting them.

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced that it had launched the ninth and 10th phases in what it calls its domestic anti-terror operation, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.

A total of 1,900 security personnel will take part in the Kıran-9 operation in the southeastern province of Şırnak, and Kıran-10 in Hakkari province, which borders Iran and Iraq, Anadolu said.

The operations target the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed armed group that has fought for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey since 1984.

Meanwhile, police detained the mayor of Sur, an historic district of Diyarbakır, which is the biggest city in the southeast, Turkish news site Diken reported on Friday. Two councillors from her district have also been detained and are under investigation.

Sur Mayor Filiz Buluttekin is being investigated for links to and activities in support of the PKK.

The mayor is accused of attending the funeral of Mehmet Yakışır, a PKK member held responsible for the killing of 15-year-old Eren Bülbül during clashes with security forces in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, Turkish daily Sabah said.

Buluttekin and the councillors are the latest is a long list of politicians from the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to face terror charges. This week, three HDP district mayors were dismissed and replaced by government appointees, bringing the number dismissed since the local elections in March to 31.