Pro-Kurdish HDP appeals to Turkey’s top court over mayors denied office

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition party has applied to the country’s Constitutional Court over the party’s mayors being denied office after the March 31 elections, citing their dismissal from prior jobs following decree laws implemented after the July 2016 coup attempt, independent news site T24 reported.

The country’s Supreme Election Council (YSK), after the local elections in March, announced that elected district mayors who had previously been stripped of office by presidential decree will not be allowed to take up office and their seats would be awarded to the second placed candidates instead. The decision affected four district mayors of the predominantly Kurdish HDP.

"We are calling on the Constitutional Court to cancel this unconstitutional practice and deliver the will of the people back to them, " HDP lawmaker Ayşe Acar Başaran, who was joined by fellow lawmakers,  Abdullah Koç and Hüseyin Kaçmaz, told the press upon submitting the application to the court.

Başaran also said the HDP planned to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Following the 2015 collapse of a peace process between the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Ankara has intensified a crackdown on the HDP, which it accuses of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interests of the PKK, an armed group that has been in war in Turkey for over three decades.