Turkish police have detained a previously sacked co-mayor in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır over “being a member of a terrorist organization and making its propaganda.”
Selçuk Mızraklı, who was Diyarbakır’s co-mayor from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) before being removed from his post to be replaced with a trustee, was detained early on Oct. 21.
In addition to Mızraklı, the province’s Kayapınar district co-mayor Keziban Yılmaz, Bismil co-mayors Gülcan Özer and Orhan Ayaz and Kocaköy co-chair Rojda Nazlıer were also detained.
Speaking about the recent wave of arrests, Mızraklı’s lawyer Mehmet Emin Aktar said that the only reason cited for detention and a search warrant is “an ongoing investigation.”
Mızraklı was elected Diyarbakır co-mayor in March 31 local elections via gaining 62 percent of the votes.
He was then removed from his office in August, alongside two other co-mayors Ahmet Türk and Bedia Özgökçe Ertan, on charges of “supporting terrorist organizations” and “being in contact with terrorist groups.”
Detentions and arrests of HDP members have been a common practice in Turkey since 2016, with the party’s former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ being kept in jail for nearly 3 years.
In addition to detentions and arrests, Turkey’s Interior Ministry often appoints trustees to replace elected mayors from the HDP in the country’s southeast, again citing “terror related charges,” referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
HDP deputies and mayors have been under increasing pressure in the recent days over criticizing Turkey’s military offensive in northeastern Syria.