Two young men were taken into custody in the eastern province of Tunceli on Thursday for refusing to shake hands with the trustee who replaced a democratically elected mayor in the province, the Arti Gerçek news website reported.
Tunceli Governor Tuncay Sonel, who was also appointed as trustee, replacing the city’s mayor from the ranks of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), reportedly extended his hand to Doğan Can Sarıtaş and Ali Haydar Baran while he was passing in front of the HDP election office in the city center. The youths refused the handshake.
Witnesses said Sarıtaş and Baran were detained after they refused to shake hands with Sonel.
During a state of emergency declared by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and which remained in effect for two years, the Turkish government appointed dozens of trustees to municipalities mostly run by the HDP. The trustees replaced mayors who had been democratically elected. Turkey will hold local elections on March 31. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says even if HDP mayoral candidates get elected in the elections, they will be replaced with government-appointed trustees.