The clashes across the country occurred after the disqualification of a Kurdish politician

Riots broke out in several Turkish cities on Tuesday night after the authorities invalidated the victory of Kurdish politician Abdullah Zeydan in a mayoral election. 

On Sunday, Zeydan was elected to serve as the mayor of the eastern city of Van. Two days later, a local electoral board disqualified him, citing his past criminal conviction on the charges of supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Türkiye considers a terrorist group. 

In 2016, Zeydan was sent to prison a year later for “abetting” and “propagandizing” for the PKK. He was released in 2022. According to the prosecutors, his three-year ban to run for office has not yet expired, which makes him ineligible to serve as mayor.

Zeydan’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) slammed the disqualification  as “a political coup.” The politician’s supporters took to the streets, with some launching fireworks and throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at police officers, who responded with tear gas and water cannons. Some rioters erected barricades and set them on fire.

The disturbances were reported in Van and other eastern cities, as well as in Adana in the south and Izmir on the Aegean coast.

A total of 89 people have been detained in the cities of Van, Hakkari, Batman, Siirt, Sirnak and Izmir, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya wrote on X (formerly Twitter). 


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