Pro-Kurdish Mayor Detained in Southeast Turkey Over Alleged Militant Links

Pro-Kurdish Mayor Detained in Southeast Turkey Over Alleged Militant Links

On Monday, the police detained a pro-Kurdish party mayor in southeast Turkey over alleged militant links, replacing him with the state governor, as announced by the interior ministry. This event occurred two months after the mayor’s victory in local elections.

Following previous municipal elections, Turkey detained pro-Kurdish mayors, replacing nearly all of them with state officials due to accusations of connections to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Mehmet Siddik Akis, the mayor of Hakkari province, which borders Iran and Iraq, was accused of holding a high-level position in the PKK militant group, according to a statement from the ministry on X.

A security source reported that police conducted a search at the Hakkari municipal building and barred members of Akis’ pro-Kurdish DEM party, the third largest in Turkey’s parliament, from entering.

Attempts to reach Akis and his lawyer for comments were unsuccessful, but his party planned a news conference regarding the situation. DEM has consistently denied any ties to the PKK.

“The government, which is defeated by the will of the people every time, has again resorted to the way it knows best: usurping (the people’s) will and conducting a coup,” DEM stated in response to the mayor’s arrest.

In the March 31 local elections, DEM demonstrated its regional strength by winning 10 provinces in the predominantly Kurdish southeast.

Turkish authorities accuse DEM and its pro-Kurdish predecessors of connections to the PKK, which is labeled a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

Since the PKK’s separatist insurgency against the Turkish state began in 1984, over 40,000 people have been killed.

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