The Turkish government has just removed the elected mayors of three largest Kurdish provinces, Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin predominantly, replacing them with pro-government trustees.
The dismissed mayors were elected in the most recent local elections that were held on 31 March 2019, from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Diyarbakır Mayor Adnan Mızraklı received 63 percent, Mardin Mayor Ahmet Turk received 56 percent, Van Mayor Bedia Özgökçe received 54 percent of total votes.
According to the BBC News Turkçe, Diyarbakır mayor was replaced with current Diyarbakır Governor Hasan Basri Güzeloğlu. Mardin Mayor was replaced by the current Mardin Governor Mustafa Yaman and Van mayor was replaced by the current Van governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez.
According to the Turkish authorities, the dismissed mayors support the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), which are considered twrrorist organizations in Turkey.
Diyarbakır Valisi Hasan Basri Güzeloğlu, Mardin Valisi Mustafa Yaman, Van Valisi Mehmet Emin Bilmez, belediye başkan vekili olarak görevlendirildi pic.twitter.com/pXTKlS8Qbz
— BBC News Türkçe (@bbcturkce) August 19, 2019
According to the most recent reports from the field, Turkish police detained dismissed mayors, pro-Kurdish HDP council members and municipality officer on terrorism accusations. According to pro-government AHaber, at least 350 350 municipality officials have been detained by police so far. Here is the some of the local Kurdish politicians detained by police: Sevim Biçici, Kadir İnanır, Şiyar Dağ, Hayri Etyemez, Fuat Yalçın, Mehmet Akdoğan, Ceylan Arslan, Gülistan Ataş, Şahin Sağlam, Murat Eminoğlu, Mesut Bağcık, Edip Binbir, Mustafa Akengin, Mahmut Korkmaz, Fevzi Işık, Selda Baran, Burhan Karakoç, Avniye Tanrıkulu, Ali İhsan Karahan, Halide Türkoğlu, Mahmut Ulus, Fevzi Demirkıran.
UPDATE: Turkey’s Ministry of Interior says 418 people in 29 provinces in police custody on terrorism accusations
Turkey’s Ministry of Interior tweeted early on Monday morning that “particularly in Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, 418 people in 29 provinces have been detained as part of operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).”
Diyarbakır, Mardin ve Van illeri başta olmak üzere toplam 2️⃣9️⃣ ilde PKK/KCK Terör Örgütüne yönelik 4️⃣1️⃣8️⃣ şahıs yakalanarak gözaltına alındı.
Yakalamaya dönük operasyonlar devam etmektedir.
❗Kamuoyuna saygıyla duyurulur.
— T.C. İçişleri Bakanlığı (@TC_icisleri) August 19, 2019
HDP'li belediyelere operasyon |
Diyarbakır, Van ve Mardin belediye başkanları görevden alındı. Çok sayıda belediye yöneticisi ve meclis üyesi gözaltına alındı https://t.co/tRIBdxemoo
— Evrensel Gazetesi (@evrenselgzt) August 19, 2019
The pro-Kurdish Diyarbakır mayor was replaced with current Diyarbakır Governor Hasan Basri Güzeloğlu. Mardin mayor was replaced by the current Mardin Governor Mustafa Yaman and Van mayor was replaced by the current Van governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez || https://t.co/57uCWjXX13 pic.twitter.com/7PbB3tLrW1
— Turkey Purge (@TurkeyPurge) August 19, 2019
23 Kurds in police custody over social media posts
In a related development, Turkish police detained at least 23 Kurds in Adana province on accusation of making propaganda on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on social media.
Detentions over social media posts has become a common practice in Turkey. According to state-run Anadolu news agency. cyber police unit suspected 42,000 social media users of criminal activity, terrorism-related crimes in particular, in 2018. 15,000 of those accounts were linked to charges like making propaganda for the Gulen movement, 12,000 were targeted for alleged support for the PKK.
At least 2,000 people were detained, of which 1,000 were put in pretrial detention as a result of the surveillance.