Reports of police brutality and arrests surge as street protests rage on for a second day across Turkey’s Kurdish-majority cities. According to DEM Party MP Gülcan Kaçmaz Sayyiğit, detainees have made allegations of torture.


Turkish police have made 89 arrests during ongoing protests in several Kurdish-majority cities, sparked by the appointment of an AKP candidate as Mayor of Van (Wan) which negated a sweeping electoral victory by DEM Party’s pro-Kurdish candidate, Abdullah Zeydan.

Zeydan’s disqualification was announced shortly after he won in Sunday’s Van polls with 55 per cent of the vote. Protests erupted immediately and subsequent arrests confirmed by Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya.

Twenty-six arrests were made in Van (Wan), nine in Hakkari (Colemerg), 29 in Yuksekova (Gever), four in Siirt (Sert), five in Batman (Elih), 10 in Şırnak (Şirnex) and six in the western province of İzmir.

Several reports of police brutality have emerged during the two days of protests. According to Gülcan Kaçmaz Sayyiğit, a DEM Party MP, detainees have also made allegations of torture.

“In Van, the will and preferences of the people have not been recognised for eight years; they want to impose a state of emergency. The refusal to recognise the election results represents the failure to uphold other constitutional rights when it comes to Van. There are reports of torture in today’s prisons. Hands off Van, this city can no longer bear injustice,” said Sayyiğit.

Turkish authorities have taken harsh measures in response to the protests, including a crackdown by riot police and the imposition of a 15-day ban on gatherings and demonstrations in the provinces of Van and Bitlis.

In addition, the authorities quickly imposed a curfew in the Pervari district of Siirt with immediate effect and until further notice.