UN 'very concerned' over Turkey's arrest of Kurdish mayors
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday said they were “very concerned” about Turkey’s arrests of the co-mayors of the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir.
On Oct. 25, Turkey detained the co-mayors of Diyarbakir Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli on terrorism-related charges.
An online press briefing by a spokesperson for the High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein reminded the arrests of Kisanak and Anli were the latest in a Turkish Government crackdown targeting democratically elected Kurdish representatives.
The UN office noted it had no access to observe the situation in Turkey which has been under a state of emergency since the failed July 15 military coup, but continued to monitor the country remotely.
Al Hussein’s spokesperson also called on Turkish authorities to respect the requirements for a fair trial “even during a state of emergency.”
The UN’s expression of concern followed a Wednesday statement by the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn who described the arrests as “worrying.”
Mogherini and Hahn said Turkey, as an EU candidate country, had commitments to “full respect for the rule of law, due process, and fundamental freedoms.”
Turkish authorities have still not allowed both Kisanak and Anli to meet with their lawyers as of Saturday.
The EU reiterated its call for a return to dialogue to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict that has led to the loss of thousands of lives, including those of civilians.
Moreover, the conflict has also left whole Kurdish cities in rubble since mid-2015 when peace talks collapsed.
A United States State Department Spokesperson, who condemned the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) when Kurdistan24 asked about the detention of Diyarbakir’s elected co-mayors during a Wednesday briefing, said they were monitoring the situation.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Laurie Mylroie contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.)