Despite growing protests, the Turkish state continue to arrest political opponents and suppress criticism of military operations against Kurdish communities. As with previous attacks on democracy, many of these repressive measures have targeted the pro-Kurdish rights HDP party.
In the province of Batman, 7 people were arrested during raids by Turkish gendarmes. Those arrested in the municipality of Ikiköprü included the co-mayor Hatice Taş, Council Member Tahsin Yıldırım, and several employees of the municipal government.
The house of the Ikiköprü Municipality co-mayor Osman Karabulut’s house was also raided, but he was not home at the time. It has emerged that the Turkish state has issued arrest orders for a total of 25 people.
Meanwhile the former co-mayor of Mardin’s Nusaybin district, Sara Kaya, who has been jailed since January 2017, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison. Her charges of ‘disrupting the unity and integrity of the state’ and ‘being member of an illegal organization’ lead to her replacement by an unelected pro-regime ‘trustee’. These vague and dubious charges are clearly an excuse to justify continued repression.
Similarly, the elected co-mayors of the Sarıcan town, in Karakoçan district of Elazığ province in eastern Turkey, were taken into custody during house raids on the morning of the 22nd of June. The co-mayors, Bekir Polat and Canan Tağtekin, have been removed from the office by the Ministry of Interior and replaced by a trustee.
Of the 65 municipalities won by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the local elections of 31 March 2019, 46 have been seized by the government through the appointment of trustees. These attacks on democracy in Turkey show the importance of continued solidarity with the peoples of Turkey and Kurdistan against the AKP-MHP regime.