Turkey government arrests Diyarbakir’s mayors Gultan Kisanak, Firat Anli over PKK links

October 26, 2016 2:00 am

This file picture taken on April 10, 2015 in Diyarbakir shows two co-mayors Gultan Kisanak (L) and Firat Anli (R) during an event in Diyarbakir. The two co-mayors of Diyarbakir, a Kurdish-majority city in southeast . (Photos by AFP)

Turkey has arrested the co-mayors of the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey over charges of aiding militants.
Gultan Kisanak and her co-mayor Firat Anli were arrested on Tuesday as part of an investigation into terrorism links, said a statement released by the local prosecutor’s office on Tuesday.
Both are accused of giving speeches in support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey deems as a terrorist organization, and for pushing autonomy for the country’s some 16 million Kurds.
They also face accusations of using municipal vehicles for the transport of the corpses of dead militants and incitement of violent protests.
According to security sources, the mayors’ offices and both detainees’ homes were also searched by police who have also cordoned off  the city hall as a precaution against the arrests stirring up protests.

Turkish anti riot police officers stand in front of the Diyarbakir’s municipality headquarters, after the arrest of two mayors, on October 25, 2016 in Diyarbakir. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has in the past stressed that the removal of officials and civil servants accused of links to the PKK is a critical move in the fight against the group.
A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015, and attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against PKK positions in the country’s troubled southeastern border region as well as Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and northern Syria.
The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since 1984. The conflict has left more than 40,000 people dead.
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