ANKARA, Turkey (Kurdistan24) – Turkey’s Minister of Interior Affairs on Saturday ruled that co-mayorship of a man and woman practiced at Kurdish municipalities was a crime.
In a directive sent to governors, Minister Suleyman Soylu said the practice of co-mayorship constituted a crime punishable by up to two years of imprisonment according to the Turkish criminal law.
Both pro-Kurdish parties of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) impose the requirement of having one man and one woman as the head of all national, local, and municipal posts, with the aim of advancing gender egalitarianism in political life.
Soylu also ordered the launch of administerial and legal probes into cases of co-mayorship which he said were examples of unlawful assumption of public duty, reported the Kurdistan24 bureau in Ankara.
The DBP which won 103 municipalities in the 2014 local elections acts as a regional surrogate to the Turkish Parliament’s second-largest opposition block HDP.
Elected co-mayors of the DBP have been the target of a government crackdown on municipalities across a dozen Kurdish provinces in Turkey.
The number of Kurdish co-mayors removed from their posts rose to 54 on Thursday with the arrest and imprisonment of Halis Coskun ve Memnune Soylemez of the Malazgirt district of the Mus Province.
Earlier the same day, the Turkish Government seized the municipal administration of the Kurdish cities of Van, Mardin, Siirt, and Dersim, and sacked their elected mayors, appointing government trustees in their stead.
The number of DBP-run municipalities seized by the Government rose to 35, among them that of the major city of Diyarbakir.
41 Kurdish mayors have been put in prison according to the HDP whose co-leaders Selahatttin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, and eight other lawmakers were put in prison earlier this month.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany