ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish police arrested the sub-governor of the Kurdish province of Diyarbakir Sercan Gokdemir and his wife late Saturday night as part of the crackdown on alleged supporters of last year’s bloody military coup attempt against the civilian government.
Gokdemir and his wife, unnamed by the authorities, were detained upon their arrival from the capital Ankara to Diyarbakir airport on the first anniversary of the aborted coup staged by a clique within the Turkish army.
Kurdistan 24’s Diyarbakir bureau said the provincial public prosecutor’s office issued an arrest warrant for the sub-governor.
He was accused of being a member of the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement.
Hours before, at an Istanbul public rally commemorating the slain civilians and soldiers who resisted the putschists using tanks, helicopters, and warplanes, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to “chop off the heads of traitors.”
Erdogan and his government blamed the coup attempt on Gulen and his followers who have over decades infiltrated the army, bureaucracy, judiciary, and police.
So far, Ankara has sacked over 100,000 civil servants and soldiers from their jobs for alleged links to Gulenists and other groups Turkey considers “terrorist” since the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt.
In Turkey, the strictly unitary central government appoints governors and sub-governors whose position grants them more powers than elected local officials such as mayors.
Diyarbakir’s current governor is Cumali Atilla.
In November 2016, the Interior Ministry appointed Atilla as a trustee to also run municipal affairs of Diyarbakir.
The appointment followed the arrest and subsequent dismissal of the elected pro-Kurdish Co-Mayors Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany