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Turkey detains yet another Kurdish mayor on accusations of terrorist links

Human Rights Politics

Turkey detains yet another Kurdish mayor on accusations of terrorist links

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Turkish authorities on Friday detained a mayor from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) due to suspected links to Kurdish militants, the latest in a crackdown on mayors from the party since elections this year, Reuters reported, citing a security source.

Filiz Buluttekin, mayor of the Sur district in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakir, was detained on Friday, the security source said, adding that two other city council members were also detained.

The HDP said police raided Buluttekin’s home early on Friday, and the party shared images on Twitter showing a blockade around the Sur municipal building.

Sertac Buluttekin, the mayor’s lawyer and family member, told Reuters that Filiz Buluttekin said police forced her, her son and her husband to lie on the ground during the raid and pointed guns at them.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government accuse the HDP of having links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group, leading to prosecutions of thousands of its members and some leaders. The HDP denies such links.

Ankara has appointed acting mayors to 31 HDP municipalities in southeastern cities and districts since the March local elections, according to the HDP, and 23 of the HDP’s co-mayors are currently jailed pending trial.

The lawyer said details of the accusations against the mayor were unknown because the investigation file was confidential.

The state-owned Anadolu news agency said investigations were being conducted into Buluttekin on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda and insulting the Turkish people, the government and the parliament.

It said Buluttekin had attended the funerals of PKK militants and participated in a press conference regarding PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, jailed since 1999.

The HDP governs many cities in the southeast of Turkey and typically appoints one male and one female co-mayor to promote gender equality.

The former co-leaders of the HDP have both been jailed since 2016 on terrorism charges, with several other prominent members accused of supporting terrorism over what the government says are links to the PKK.

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