Residents in eastern Turkey riot after pro-Kurdish mayor arrested

December 7

Residents in the eastern province of Hakkari rioted Monday after Yüksekova District Mayor Ruken Yetişkin was arrested to begin serving a seven-month prison term 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.

Yetişken, the mayor for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, was arrested Sunday and will begin serving her 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 Yetişkin.

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

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