PRESS RELEASE – Diyarbakir, October 25, 2016 – Urgent – The Turkish Government Detains Co-Mayors of Mainly Kurdish City of Diyarbakir!

Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı, Co-Mayors of Diyarbakir were detained by Turkish police around 9 PM on 25th of October, 2016. Ms. Kisanak was detained just after landing Diyarbakir Airport on her way back from Ankara while Mr. Anli was detained in his house in Diyarbakir city center. Residential houses of both co-mayors were raided by the police at 9 PM, which ended 2,5 hours later. Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality building is under blockade by the police and a search started at 21:00 that still continues while none of municipal personnel, including the lawyers, are allowed to access the building.

Diyarbakir is the cultural capital of the Kurdish region in Turkey and Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality shall be considered as politically most significant and pioneering municipal institution in the region. Ms. Kisanak is also co-chair of Union of Southeastern Anatolia Region Municipalities (GABB) which is an official umbrella organization bringing 106 municipalities together.

As of today, 22 elected co-mayors are in prison in Turkey while 33 of them were dismissed. Deputy governors were appointed as trustees by the central government on behalf of dismissed mayors on 11 September 2016, which has been the most destructive move in recent history of local democracy in Turkey.

As Union of Southeastern Anatolia Region Municipalities (GABB), we urgently call international community to act immediately in order to release statements and protest this anti-democratic and unjust policy waged by the Turkish government.