Duvar English

A pro-Kurdish party’s former co-mayor of Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır has been arrested on terror charges.

Former Diyarbakır co-mayor from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selçuk Mızraklı, was arrested on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organization” on Oct. 22, a day after being detained.

Mızraklı was elected Diyarbakır co-mayor in the March 31 local elections, gaining 62 percent of the vote.

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.”

Trustees were appointed to replace all three mayors.

The message of “We didn’t and we won’t back down. This should worry them!” was shared on Mızraklı’s Twitter account after his arrest. “Selçuk Mızraklı is our will” read the hashtag.

Speaking ahead of Mızraklı’s arrest, his lawyers said that no question was asked to him about the time he was on duty.

“It seems that his arrest was sought based on an informant’s fictitious statements. They are trying to make up a crime,” they said during Mızraklı’s questioning.

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 imprisoned for nearly three 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.