Turkish court arrests nine for protesting election hijacking attempt in Van

An İzmir court has arrested nine people who protested overturning the eastern Van province’s mayoral election results. The electoral council had attempted to revoke the elected mayor from the pro-Kurdish DEM Party, triggering protests nationwide.

Duvar English

A court in Turkey’s western İzmir province on May 17 arrested nine people who took part in the protests organized against the electoral council’s attempt to hijack mayoral election results of the eastern Van province.

A protest was organized in İzmir’s Alsancak district on April 2, with participation from DEM Party’s local branch, other parties, and civil society organizations. Police intervened with tear gas, and detained dozens. 

Over a month after the protest, police raided the homes of 16 people who allegedly participated and detained them. 

After holding the protestors in prison for three days, police arrested nine for “challenging the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations.”

Authorities detained a total of 340 people and arrested 30 on April 2 and 3 in the 14 provinces where protests were organized against the decision, announced Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya.

What happened?

On April 2, the Van province's election board decided that the candidate of Justice and Development Party (AKP), the runner-up 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 had won the Van metropolitan municipality with co-candidate Neslihan Şedal by an overwhelming 55.48 percent of the votes.

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

The Supreme Election Council (YSK) on April 3 overturned the decision and declared Zeydan as Van Mayor. Zeydan and Şedal on April 5 received their official license.