Apr 18 2019

Kurdish lawmaker injured during protest in Turkey’s southeast

A lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) was injured on Wednesday during a protest in southeast Turkey against the election council’s decision to disqualify several HDP winners in the March 31 local elections, Reuters reported.

The demonstration took place in the Bağlar district of Diyarbakır, where the HDP’s Zeyyat Ceylan, a former teacher who won the mayoral race with 70 percent of the vote, was barred from taking office after the Supreme Election Council (YSK) last week decided that elected mayors who had been sacked from public service following a 2016 coup attempt were ineligible for their posts.

Demonstrators gathered in Bağlar on Wednesday to protest the YSK decision to give the mandate to the second-place candidates, all of whom are from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

The police fired on the scene with water cannons after demonstrators rejected their order to disperse, Reuters said.

HDP lawmaker Remziye Tosun, who represents Diyarbakır in Turkey’s parliament, was thrown to the ground, causing her to lose consciousness, footage from the site showed, though there was no suggestion that police had deliberately targeted her, according to Reuters. Tosun was later taken the hospital, a witness said. 

The Turkish government previously replaced the HDP mayors elected in 2014 local polls with appointed administrators over terror links. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during his election campaign for March 31 polls, repeatedly said his government would do the same should new mayors elected have ties to outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).