Thousands in Diyarbakır protest appointment of trustee to replace Kurdish mayor despite police barricade

Thousands of people in the southeastern Diyarbakır province have protested the appointment of a trustee to replace the Hakkari mayor, from the pro-Kurdish DEM Party. Despite the police attack, the crowd broke through the police barricade.

Duvar English

Thousands in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır province on June 9 protested the appointment of a trustee to replace the democratically elected Hakkari mayor.

Mehmet Sıddık Akış, 53, co-mayor of Hakkari province, from the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party, was detained on June 3 and accused of having a high-level role in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group.

On the same day, the Interior Ministry appointed the province’s governor as the trustee mayor, replacing Akış.

A Turkish court sentenced the co-mayor to nearly 20 years in prison on June 5 over "links to militants" in a case that was ongoing for nearly a decade.

The crowd marched towards the Diyarbarkır Municipality building. The police frequently intervened in the crowd, Mesopotamia News Agency reported.

The police also attacked the blockaded crowd.

However, the crowd was able to reach the municipality building, breaking through the police barricade.

The protest continued until midnight.

The appointment of trustee decision reminded the pro-Kurdish party of the same practice implemented back in 2019. 

After the 2019 municipal elections, Turkey detained pro-Kurdish mayors, removing virtually all from their posts to be replaced by state officials over charges of ties to the PKK.

In the March 31 local elections, DEM reaffirmed its regional strength, winning 10 provinces in the mainly Kurdish southeast.