Riots Break Out in Eastern Turkey After Pro-Kurdish Mayor’s Arrest

Riot police baton-charge Kurdish DTP supporters in Van, eastern Turkey earlier this year.

YUKSEKOVA, Turkey (Hurriyet Daily News)–Kurdish residents in the eastern province of Hakkari rioted Monday after the arrest of Yuksekova District Mayor Ruken Yetiskin, a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), charged earlier this year for “making terrorist propaganda.”

The unrest began in Yüksekova and expanded to the provincial center as protesters barricaded roads and lit fires, causing police to intervene with water cannon and pepper spray.

During the incidents, a gas bomb fell into the yard of a primary school, affecting several students.

Yetisken was arrested Sunday and will begin serving her seven-month sentence in the eastern province of Bitlis.

The current mayor was tried for a speech she gave in 2004 in which she allegedly made “propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization,” the court ruled.

The case ended in 2007 while the Supreme Court of Appeals confirmed the decision in May 2010 after rejecting an appeal by Yetiskin.

The sentence was delayed for six months following a request by Yetiskin’s lawyers, but the postponement ended Sunday, allowing authorities to arrest the mayor.


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