Turkish Court Formally Arrests Co-Mayors Of Kurdish City Of Diyarbakir
A Turkish court formally arrested Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli, co-mayors of the largely Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir on charges of membership of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after five days in detention, sources said.
The local prosecutor had said Kisanak, a lawmaker before becoming Diyarbakir's first female mayor in 2014, and Anli had given speeches sympathetic to the PKK, called for greater political autonomy for Turkey's estimated 16 million Kurds and incited violent protests in 2014.
President Tayyip Erdogan accuses Kisanak's Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and its larger sister party, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), parliament's third-biggest grouping, of links with the PKK. Both parties deny this, saying they are working for a peaceful settlement of the Kurdish issue.
The DBP, which dominates the southeast, fields a male and female for mayor to promote gender equality, although the Turkish state only recognises one of the mayors.
Lawyers of the co-mayors Emin Aktar said the court ruling was not a judicial decision.
"Even the prisons they were sent to was determined beforehand, so it would have been ridiculous to expect justice today. Honestly, we didn't expect that anyways. This is not a judicial decision. This cannot be explained or comprehended as a judicial decision," he said.
Earlier on Sunday, police used rubber pellets to break up several hundred protesters marching against their arrests in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul.