Turkish police detained four mayors from a pro-Kurdish party in dawn raids, widening a crackdown since Ankara launched an incursion into northern Syria a week ago, state media and the party said.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) mayors of the Kurdish-majority districts of Hakkari, Yuksekova, Ercis and Nusaybin, near Turkey’s borders with Syria and Iraq, were held on terrorism links, the HDP and the Anadolu news agency said, without elaborating.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government accuse the HDP of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group, and thousands of its members have been prosecuted for the same reason, including its leaders. The HDP denies such links.
The Turkish government fired three Kurdish mayors on Aug. 19 from Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin on allegations of terrorism and appointed government trustees in their place.
The HDP, the third largest party in parliament, deems the Turkish incursion in Syria an “invasion” and was the only political party to strongly criticize the military operation launched last week.