340 detained in 14 provinces in Turkey regarding protests on Van election

Turkish security forces have detained at least 340 people in 14 provinces regarding the protests against the government’s effort to hijack Van elections won by the pro-Kurdish DEM Party. The protests broke out after the local electoral board revoked DEM’s candidate Abdullah Zeydan's mayorship, which was then overruled by the supreme council, reminding the appointment of trustee mayors by Ankara to replace HDP mayors after the 2019 local elections.

Duvar English

Turkey’s Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya on April 4 announced that they detained 340 people in 14 provinces regarding the protests breaking out following the local election board’s decision to cancel the victory of DEM Party’s Van mayoral candidate Abdullah Zeydan.

In a social media post, Yerlikaya said they carried out “Bozdoğan-20” operation against “the suspects” who carried out “illegal street protests on behalf of the separatist terrorist organization.”

“The suspects” were detained in Van, Diyarbakır, Şırnak, İzmir, Mardin, Batman, Kocaeli, Antalya, Urfa, Adana, Mersin, Ankara, Bingöl and Manisa provinces for allegedly “closing down” the roads, “unlawful” street protests, “attacking security forces with stones,” “shouting slogans praising the terrorist organization,” “making propaganda for it,” he added.

Meanwhile, there are many wounded and tortured people in detention, lawyer Savaş Avcı, according to reporting from the daily Evrensel.

More than 400 people were injured due to police violence, rubber bullets, and tear gas during the protests, the Mesopotamia News Agency reported on April 4.

On the other hand, the authorities arrested Muhammed Orhan (18), who went viral with a smiling face in a photo taken during his detention.

Photo: Adnan Bilen

What happened?

On April 2, the Van province's election board decided that the candidate of Justice and Development Party (AKP), the second-place finisher who took 27.2 percent of the votes in the city, should be handed the Van mayorship due to a legal issue with Zeydan's candidacy.

Zeydan won the Van metropolitan municipality with co-candidate Neslihan Şedal by an overwhelming 55.48 percent of the votes.

The move reminded Kurds the appointment of trustee mayors by Ankara to replace HDP mayors after the 2019 local elections.

Thousands of people had protested against the government's efforts to hijack elections in Van despite severe police attacks with tear gas and water cannons.

The Supreme Election Council (YSK) on April 3 overturned the decision and declared Zeydan as Van Mayor.