Turkish gov’t arrests dismissed pro-Kurdish mayor, 1-year-old son as mother battered during operation

Rezan Zuğurlı

Lice Municipality’s former co-mayor Rezan Zuğurlı was arrested along with her 1-year-old son while her mother Firuze Zuğurlı was battered by police officers during the operation on Thursday.

Zuğurli, the co-mayor of the Diyarbakır’s Lice Municipality until she was removed as part of the government’s post-coup crackdown against the Kurdish people on February 10, was earlier sentenced to 4 years and 2 months in prison on accusations of “committing crime one behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member of it.”

The 28-year-old former mayor was the Turkey’s youngest local administrator when she was elected to run Lice district on the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party’s (DBP) tickets in 2014.

Zuğurli was rounded up while she was passing through a central avenue in Çamlıca district, Diyarbakır along with her mother Firuze.

“A group of men in civilian clothes, who we didn’t know were as police, came towards us and surrounded us. They started to swear at us and insulted us before we could understand anything. They wanted to take Rezan. I stood in front of my daughter and said ‘Who are you? Why are you taking my daughter? You can’t do this’.” Firuze told media.

“While I was getting in the vehicle one of them grabbed my arm and pushed me to the ground outside. I fell down into hot asphalt from the road work that was going on. My feet burned because my slippers fell off. Bruises formed on my arm. They constantly swore and insulted us. When they took my daughter, they punched her. I said: ‘Aren’t you ashamed to talk like this with a woman?’ one of them leaned down threatened me and said, ‘I will kill you’.” Firuze added.

There are currently 11 HDP deputies behind bars in Turkey after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government stepped up a crackdown on Kurdish politicians last fall. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges. The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.

More than 17,000 women in Turkey, many with small children, have been jailed in an unprecedented crackdown and subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention centers and prisons as part of the government’s systematic campaign of intimidation and persecution of critics and opponents, a report titled “Jailing Women In Turkey: Systematic Campaign of Persecution and Fear” released in April by SCF has revealed.

Meanwhile, the number of babies and children aged between 0 to 6, who are being held in Turkish prisons along with their parents, rose from 560 to 668, according to the most recent data given by the Turkish government. As a reply to Turkey’s main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) deputy Gamze İlgezdi’s question motion, Turkish Justice Ministry has stated that the number of children staying along with their mothers behind bars has hit 668 as of July 4, 2017. The corresponding number was 560 in April. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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