Kurdish mayors replaced in Turkey over Syria criticism

A protester is detained by police during a rally against the Turkish government’s removal from office of three pro-Kurdish mayors, in Ankara. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2019

Kurdish mayors replaced in Turkey over Syria criticism

  • Local administrators have been appointed to replace mayors in Yuksekova and Hakkari as Ankara begins crackdown against dissent

ANKARA: Turkey replaced the mayors of a Kurdish-majority town in its southeast with a state official, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said, amid a crackdown at home on criticism of Ankara’s offensive in Syria.
The HDP said five of its co-mayors in the southeastern Kurdish-majority towns of Hakkari, Yuksekova and Nusaybin, had been jailed on Thursday, pending trial.
Two other co-mayors in the district of Ercis were detained earlier this week and remain in custody, it said.

Crackdown
Turkey has launched a crackdown against dissent in its majority Kurdish areas following its assault against Kurdish-controlled parts of neighboring Syria.
Protests have been broken up with tear gas and scores of people have been arrested for criticizing the military campaign online.
The HDP governs many cities in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey. It typically appoints one male and one female co-mayor to promote gender equality.
Semire Nergiz and Ferhat Kut, co-mayors of Nusaybin, were accused of being members of a terrorist organization and replaced by a state-apppointed trustee on Friday, the HDP said.
Yuksekova co-mayors Remziye Yasar and Irfan Sari were jailed for their interviews, columns and social media posts. It was not immediately clear what the Hakkari Mayor Cihan Kahraman was accused of.

HIGHLIGHT

Protests have been broken up with tear gas and scores of people have been arrested for criticizing the military campaign online.

The state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Friday local administrators had been appointed to replace mayors in Yuksekova and Hakkari.
Nusaybin is a town on the Syrian border in the southeastern Mardin province, while Hakkari and Yuksekova are situated on the border with Iran.
Nusaybin has been the target of cross-border attacks during the operation, with a mortar and rocket attack by Kurdish militants last week killing eight people and wounding 35 others.
Friday’s moves came just hours after Turkey agreed with the US to pause its offensive in Syria for five days to allow Kurdish forces to withdraw from a planned “safe zone” in Syria’s northeast.

Opposition within
While most of Turkey’s opposition parties have backed the offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, the HDP has called for it to stop, describing it as an “invasion attempt.”
HDP says the operation was an attempt by the government to drum up support amid declining public backing.
The former co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish HDP have both been jailed since 2016 on terrorism charges, with several other prominent members accused of supporting terrorism over what the government says are links to the banned PKK insurgent movement. The HDP denies supporting the PKK.
The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras Al-Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.
Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras Al-Ain.


Algeria to ease coronavirus restrictions on Sunday

Updated 17 min 35 sec ago

Algeria to ease coronavirus restrictions on Sunday

  • The North African country has so far reported 9,831 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 681 deaths

ALGIERS: Algeria will resume some economic activities and allow a number of businesses to reopen from Sunday as part of a plan to end the coronavirus lockdown, the prime minister's office said on Thursday.
It said the government would allow the construction and public works sector to resume activity to help ease the impact of the coronavirus-linked restrictions imposed in March.
The government will also permit the reopening of businesses such as home appliances, vegetable and fruit markets, pastries and men's barbershops.
The second stage of the lockdown relaxation will start on June 14, allowing more businesses to resume, the government said, without giving details.
“The success of the plan to resume economic activity remains dependent on the ability of merchants and operators to ensure the safety of their employees and customers,” the prime minister's office said.
The North African country has so far reported 9,831 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 681 deaths.