ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United Kingdom’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday called on Turkey to respect the rule of law after Ankara sacked three Kurdish mayors and arrested over 400 Kurdish activists.
“The arrest of political leaders and activists from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is unacceptable,” the Labour Party leader wrote on Twitter.
“Turkey should respect human rights, the rule of law, and not undermine its democracy,” he added.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Monday removed metropolitan mayors of the country’s three major Kurdish provinces of Diyarbakir, Mardin, and Van months after the nationwide March local elections.
Additionally, Turkish police arrested 418 people in those cities, and 26 others in connection to what it said were membership to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The HDP denies ties to the PKK.
Human rights organizations widely condemned the Turkish government’s action.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday called on Turkey to reinstate the three Kurdish mayors.
“These moves by Erdogan’s government against democratically elected officials violate Turkey’s obligations under international and regional human rights law,” HRW said in a statement.
The Council of Europe also condemned the Turkish decision to remove the three mayors.
“I call on the Turkish authorities to address this issue without delay and, in particular, to restore the capacity of municipal councils to choose a replacement mayor,” Anders Knape, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, said in a statement.
The HDP has organized protests to condemn the Turkish decision.
HDP’s Co-chair Sezai Temelli on Tuesday called on people to raise their “voice everywhere” and bring “life to a standstill.”
“Ours is a struggle for law and justice. We are on the streets today as we were yesterday. We will surely sweep away these state-appointed trustees, these cowards, and their regime!”
The Turkish police on Wednesday attempted to block protestors in Diyarbakir with water cannons. According to AFP, at least seven Kurdish demonstrators were arrested.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany