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3 Apr, 2024 00:52

Riots erupt after mayoral vote in Türkiye (VIDEOS)

Clashes occurred across the country after the disqualification of a Kurdish politician
Riots erupt after mayoral vote in Türkiye (VIDEOS)

Riots broke out in several Turkish cities on Tuesday night after the authorities invalidated the victory of a Kurdish politician in a mayoral election. 

Two days after winning the election to become mayor in the eastern city of Van, Abdullah Zeydan was disqualified by local authorities, who cited his past conviction for supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Türkiye considers a terrorist group. 

Zeydan was sent to prison in 2016 for “abetting” and “propagandizing” the PKK and was released in 2022. According to prosecutors, a three-year ban on him running for office has not yet expired, making him ineligible to serve as mayor.

Zeydan’s pro-Kurdish Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) slammed the disqualification as “a political coup.” The politician’s supporters took to the streets, with some launching fireworks and throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at police officers, who responded with tear gas and water cannons. Some rioters erected barricades and set them on fire.

Disturbances were reported in Van and other eastern cities, as well as in Adana in the south and Izmir on the Aegean coast.

A total of 89 people have been detained in the cities of Van, Hakkari, Batman, Siirt, Sirnak and Izmir, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya wrote on X (formerly Twitter). 

The March 31 municipal elections delivered several major blows to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party. Challengers from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) have retained the mayorships in the largest city, Istanbul, and the capital, Ankara.