A Turkish court has formally arrested the co-mayors of the largely Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir. Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli are accused of membership of a terrorist organization.
The local prosecutor claimed that Gulen Kisanak, Diyarbakir's first female mayor, and Firat Anli hadgiven speeches sympathetic to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in 2014. The pair had been arrested earlier last week but had to wait five days for formal charges to be brought against them.
Police were forced to use rubber pellets to break up several hundred protesters marching against the arrest of the two local politicians.
Turkey's southeast has been rocked by the worst violence in decades since a ceasefire between the government and the PKK collapsed a year ago.
Turkey's slipping grip on democracy
Turkey had earlier acknowledged that it dismissed another 10,000 civil servants and also closed 15 more media outlets over suspected links with terrorist organizations and links to the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the failed coup attempt in July 2016.
More than 100,000 people have already been fired or suspended and 37,000 arrested since the abortive putsch in a far-reaching crackdown. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims that removing the network of Gulen supporters from the state apparatus is a crucial task.
The crackdown has caused worry among rights groups, who fear Erdogan is using the emergency rule introduced in the wake of the coup attempt to get rid of dissenting voices.
The government has just recently extended the state of emergency by another three months until mid-January. Erdogan also said that calls to reintroduce the death penalty - with a view to punishing the coup plotters this way - would also be tabled before the parliament soon. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Turkey would effectively lose its status as an ascendent to EU membership if it did reintroduce capital punishment.
ss/smm (Reuters, dpa, AFP)