A trustee was appointed to Kars municipality and 19 people were detained in operations held early this morning (1 October) in Turkey.
People’s Democratic Party (HDP) members of the provincial council and district municipality council and Kars Co-Mayor Şevin Alaca were amongst those detained.
Apart from Co-Mayor Şevin Alaca, others detained included HDP Co-Chair Cengiz Anlı, Kars municipality Co-Vice President Muazzez Çağrıtekinci, Fahrettin Kaya, Kaya Naki, Suat Bayhan, Hamit Taşdelen, Reis Baykız, Zorba Başkurtlu, Bülent Ağbaba, Şengül Erkmen and journalist Sevda Manduz.
Police also raided the HDP Kars provincial building and municipality building. The houses of the people who were detained were also subjected to searches as part of an investigation that is being undertaken by the Kars Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. HDP members are being detained on the grounds of being “a member of an organization” and have been brought to the provincial security directorate.
These operations were undertaken immediately after the Co-Mayor of Kars, Ayhan Bilgen, resigned. Bilgen announced his resignation on Twitter after being detained as part of an investigation against the party.
Bilgen said: “Remand me in custody or release me if you want. If a trustee is not appointed when my detention period ends, I will resign as the mayor. I am past the age of playing at democracy. Turkey’s circumstances are not suitable for playing games either. I won’t allow a city’s will to be disrupted through arbitrary detentions. Kars has the competence to rule itself. In a [municipal] council that has shown the maturity to make decisions unanimously for one-and-a-half years, five parties can form a new administration by agreeing to it”.
As part of an investigation conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the Kobani protests on 6-8 October 2014, detention warrants were issued against 82 members of the HDP, including 24 former Central Executive Committee members, on 26 September.