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Now is not the time to be silent on the ‘political coup’ in Turkey, opposition party warns

ANTI-WAR voices in Turkey continued to be silenced yesterday as police swooped to detain three more Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-mayors due to “ongoing legal investigations” against them.

But now is the time to break the silence on the “political coup” against the HDP, party deputy chair Saruhan Oluc insisted.

“Staying silent and turning a blind eye is not the right stance to take,” he said. “It is not a time to remain silent.”

Suspended Diyarbakir co-mayor Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli — who was removed from his post in August and replaced by a government-appointed trustee — was held yesterday along with Kayapinar co-mayor Keziban Yilmaz and Bismil co-mayor Orhan Ayaz.

But the party remained defiant and vowed that “despite extremely dire circumstances in Turkey, our democratic struggle will go on.”

Speaking at a press conference in Turkey’s parliament yesterday Mr Oluc warned that the war was being used to mount a “political coup” against the party.

“The government tells Kurdish people: ‘I will seize your will. It doesn’t count if you elect them. There is no law for you. If you are a Kurd, you cannot be a mayor. If you are a Kurd, you cannot administer you own province, district, town’,” he said.

More than 151 HDP members have been detained since Turkey’s war in Syria began on October 9.

Co-mayors of border towns have also been held on terror charges for making peace statements.

At least three people were hospitalised over the weekend as police stormed the HDP’s Ankara provincial offices to prevent the party from making an anti-war statement.

HDP co-leaders Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli are also under criminal investigation regarding peace statements.

The party remains the only voice in Parliament that opposed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s war, with the Kemalist People’s Republican Party (CHP) voting in line with the government again.

Anti-war activists face increasing pressure in Turkey, with around 40 armed police raiding the home of journalist Nurcan Baysal on Sunday over social media posts.

More than 500 accounts are currently under investigation by the Turkish state over statements opposing Operation Peace Spring.

Mr Oluc warned: “Those who raise their voices, who say ‘No to war, we want peace’ are the ones who refuse to be a party to the crimes committed by the government.”

He added: “This country has to resolve its problems, including the Kurdish question, with peace, by speaking and through negotiation.”

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