Turkish election officials have reinstated the pro-Kurdish election winner Election News

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Election officials have reversed the disqualification of a Kurdish candidate who won the mayoral race in the eastern Turkish city of Van.

Turkey’s election watchdog has recalled the winner of the pro-Kurdish election in the eastern city of Van after the annulment of his victory sparked controversy.

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced on Wednesday that it has overturned the decision of the electoral commission in eastern Turkey to remove Abdullah Zeydan, the representative of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM).

The change is seen as a further boost to Turkey’s opposition following Sunday’s election, which pitted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) from winning last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

Zeydan got more than 55 percent of the votes municipal elections On Sunday, but the regional electoral commission said he was not eligible to stand because of his previous convictions, and awarded the mayoral seat to an AKP candidate who won 27 percent of the vote.

Zeydan was arrested and jailed in 2016 after criticizing the Turkish military’s crackdown on Kurdish militants in the Kurdish southeast. It was released in 2022.

The expulsion sparked violent protests on Tuesday that raged overnight across the province, which straddles Turkey’s eastern border with Iran.

The authorities fought against them. Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said 89 people were arrested for joining illegal rallies and chanting slogans praising the “separatist terrorist group”, referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) banned by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Agreement.

DEM is often accused by the Turkish authorities of having links with the PKK. This party is the third largest party in the Turkish parliament.

However, on Wednesday, the DEM said that the YSK decided to reinstate Zeydan as mayor of Van “due to the resistance of the Kurdish people”.

The YSK appealed to the DEM and decided to reinstate Zeydan, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The decision was taken by a majority of the board members, the board said.

Over the years, Erdogan’s government has removed elected Kurdish mayors from office for their ties to Kurdish militants and replaced them with government-appointed trustees.

Besides the victory in Van, the DEM also took the mayorships of other major Turkish Kurdish-majority towns in the southeast, including Diyarbakir, the region’s largest city.

Ahead of the electoral commission’s decision to reinstate Zeydan, the re-elected mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu, who is seen as an opponent of Erdogan, called what happened in Van “completely disturbing”.

“We will be following Van’s senseless act,” Imamoglu, whose party supported DEM in the fight against Van’s decision, told a crowd of about 500 people gathered outside the Istanbul High Court after he was given the mandate to serve another five years.

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