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Pro-Kurdish MP injured protesting ban on Turkish party politicians

Candidates fired under an emergency decree have been barred from their positions [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 April, 2019

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HDP MP Remziye Tosun was hospitalised after being injured during a protest against a ban on members of her party taking up posts won in last month's local elections.

A pro-Kurdish MP in Turkey was injured on Wednesday during protests over a ban on her party's candidates taking up posts won in last month's local elections.

Officials banned several People's Democratic Party (HDP) candidates from taking up posts won in the 31 March local elections due to having been dismissed from public service jobs after a failed 2016 coup.

Around 100 protesters gathered in the Baglar district of the majority-Kurdish city Diyarbakir in Turkey's southeast to demonstrate against the decision made by the electoral authorities.

When HDP officials started to read a declaration, police fired a water canon to break up the demonstration, AFP reported.

HDP MP Remziye Tosun was hospitalised after falling on a concrete slab and losing consciousness. Doctors later found a fracture in her back.

More than 140,000 people were dismissed from public sector jobs and public institutions following the 2016 failed coup, which Ankara blames on US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

While officials justified the purge by saying it was needed to clear out Gulen supporters, who are said to have slowly taken over many public sector institutions, critics say it was a crackdown on dissent in general.

Some of those fired included HDP politicians and public sector workers accused of having ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a banned Kurdish militia with which the Turkish state has been engaged in a decades-long on-off civil war.

Mayors who were fired by the government under the 2016 emergency decree were replaced by government-appointed "trustees".

Although no objections were made to the former mayors running in March's local elections before they took place, Turkey's electoral authority later decided to ban those who had won in six districts from taking up their posts.

The runners-up - all representatives of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) - are expected to take their place as mayors of those districts.

HDP candidate for Baglar district Zeyyat Ceylan, formerly a teacher fired from his position under the 2016 emergency decree, was elected mayor with 70 percent of the vote. The second-place candidate from the AKP Huseyin Beyoglu earned 25 percent of the vote.

"This is not the law, this is oppression," Ceylan told BBC Turkish.

The HDP has demanded the electoral authorities reverse the ban.

"This step the YSK [electoral authority] took is nothing but a part of a premeditated political conspiracy," said HDP spokesman Saruhan Oluc last week according to bianet

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