Duvar English

Three previously sacked mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were arrested by a court order on Nov. 26, in the recent wave of arrests against the party over “terror charges.”

Nalan Özaydın, Gülistan Öncü and Mülkiye Esmez are respectively the former elected mayors of the Mazıdağı district, Savur district and Derik district, all in the southeastern province of Mardin.

All three were detained on Nov. 15 and suspended from duty the next day as part of ongoing terrorism investigations.

The district governors were appointed as acting mayors in their stead. 

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).

The HDP called on Nov. 20 for an early election to protest the government’s dismissal of its mayors. It said that 24 mayors of its mayors had been sacked from duty since the March local elections.

In a statement read by the co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli, the party also said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), were “stealing the will of the peoples” by appointing trustees.