UPDATE: Turkey detains co-mayors of Kurdish city of Diyarbakir
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Kurdistan24) – Turkish police units on Tuesday night detained the co-mayors of the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli.
A Kurdistan24 correspondent in Diyarbakir said police arrested Kisanak at the Diyarbakir airport while she was returning from Ankara.
Kisanak was attending a hearing by a Parliamentary commission tasked with investigating the failed July 15 military coup attempt.
Anli was detained after a house raid.
A statement by the Turkish prosecutor’s office in Diyarbakir accused the two of propagating in support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and demanding political autonomy for the Kurds.
The prosecutor also accused Kisanak and Anli of providing municipal vehicles to transport the bodies of fallen PKK fighters and of inciting violence.
The correspondent reported that large units of police and armored vehicles surrounded the Metropolitan Municipality of Diyarbakir.
Crowds of people and several Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members of parliament gathered in front of the municipality and demanded to enter the building as the Turkish police blocked them.
Police units also searched the Municipality, the houses of both Kisanak and Anli, as well as those of several city council members.
The Turkish Ministry of Interior Affairs appointed government trustees to two dozen Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP)-run municipalities in September after dismissing their elected mayors over accusations related to terrorism.
A veteran activist and former journalist who served time in Turkish prisons in the 1980s, Kisanak was elected with 80 percent of votes as the first female mayor of Diyarbakir in 2014.
She also served as a member of the Turkish parliament for two terms throughout 2007-2014.
Editing by Ava Homa and Karzan Sulaivany
(Hesen Kako contributed to this report from Diyarbakir)