Pro-Kurdish DEM party seeks opposition support over mayor removal

The New Region

Jun. 06, 2024 • 2 min read
Image of Pro-Kurdish DEM party seeks opposition support over mayor removal

The Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party in Turkey seeks opposition support following the arrest of Hakkari's mayor, Mehmet Siddik Akis, accused of PKK ties and sentenced to 19 years in prison.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party is seeking the support of Turkish opposition forces following the arrest of their mayor in Hakkari, an MP from the party told The New Region on Thursday.


Turkish forces on Sunday arrested Mehmet Siddik Akis, who had been elected as mayor to Hakkari in March. He was arrested on allegations that he had ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).


Akis was sentenced to 19 years and six months in prison on Wednesday on alleged PKK ties charges, with the court’s verdict claiming that he was leading “an armed terrorist organization”, a ruling endorsed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


Speaking to The New Region on Thursday, DEM Party MP Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu denounced the decision to remove Akis.


“The decision is political and against the will of the people, they do not respect the choice of the people,” Gergerlioglu said.


He further added that DEM party is trying to receive the support of other parties on the matter.

“DEM party is trying to gain the support of opposition parties, so far the CHP, Felicity Party (Saadet), and Good (IYI) Party consider it unjust,” he said.


This is not the first time Kurdish representatives are being hunted down by Turkish forces.


Since 2016, dozens of representatives and mayors from pro-Kurdish parties have been forcefully removed from office, with many of them sentenced with lengthy prison sentences.


Turkey in May sentenced dozens of Kurdish politicians, including prominent leader Selahattin Demirtas, to lengthy prison sentences over protests held in 2014.


Demirtas, imprisoned since 2016, was sentenced to 42 years in prison.


The Turkish authorities have over the years continued to prosecute Kurdish officials over alleged ties to the PKK.


The PKK is an armed group that has fought for increased Kurdish rights in Turkey for decades, the group, designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara, uses mountainous areas of the Kurdistan Region as shelter and often engages in direct armed conflict with Turkey.

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