Arrests of Kurdish Mayors Continues in Turkey Despite Corona Crisis

Despite a rising death toll from the Corona virus in Turkey, the state has continued to arrest democratically elected politicians in Kurdish municipalities.

The HDP opposition party which supports Kurdish self-determination had won elections in 65 municipalities in local elections last year.

Since then, 40 municipalities have been forcibly seized by the AKP-MHP government.  In the city of Batman 16 people were arrested during street protests against the seizure of the local administration.

In response a HDP spokesperson pointed out that the latest “political genocide campaign against our party and the will of the voters is taking place at a time when the HDP-run municipalities are doing their utmost to fight the Corona pandemic. While the whole world is fighting against the pandemic, the usual anti-Kurdish attitude continues to prevail in Turkey.”

The HDP have now called for noise protests from balconies and windows to protest the government’s attack on democracy and failure to respond to the Corona crisis properly.

Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy, co-spokespersons of HDP’s Foreign Affairs Commission, issued a further written statement about the latest HDP-run municipalities seized amidst the fight against the coronavirus:

“While the whole world is busy with finding ways to fight the virus, the Turkish government is using the pandemic climate as an opportunity to use the vilest forms of repression against Kurds.”

As well as using the crisis as an excuse to crack down on democratic opposition to the regime the government has also been accused of failing to respond to the Corona crisis especially in Kurdish cities.

In Batman disinfection work ordered by the HDP administration to combat the spread of the virus was cancelled by the AKP government.

The continued failure of the Turkish state to take proper steps to combat the Corona crisis and their use of the crisis to further authoritarian repression reveals the extent to which the regime threatens the lives of Turkish and Kurdish peoples.

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