Turkey: Diyarbakir mayors detained on ‘terrorism’

Diyarbakır mayor Gültan Kışanak, a member of the Democratic Regions' Party (DBP), and her co-mayor Fırat Anlı were arrested by Turkish authorities Oct. 30 as part of an anti-terrorism investigation. The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office charged Kışanak with "being a member of an armed terrorist group," while Anlı was charged with "trying to separate land under the state's sovereignty." Ayla Akat Ata, a former lawmaker of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), forerunner of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was also detained at a protest against the arrest of the co-mayors. Akat was charged with "managing a terrorist organization." An HDP leader called Akat's detention a "kidnapping, not an arrest." Said HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş: "If you call it an arrest, then you accept that the law made a decision and the legal mechanism works. Arrest is a legal term, but there is no law. This is abduction and kidnapping." (Hurriyet Daily News, Daily Sabah)

The arrests are part of the ongoing repression against the growing system of political autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish east—disguised as a crackdown on the PKK guerillas, and taking place in an atmosphere of terror in the aftermath of July's attempted coup. As a part of that autonomous system, a new policy adopted by the Kurdish-led HDP and DBP has two co-mayors, one female and one male, running the towns these parties control.