The mayor of the city of Siirt, in southeastern Turkey, has been sentenced to one year in prison for disseminating terrorist propaganda.
Tuncer Bakırhan was tried in absentia on Friday, according to Anadolu news agency.
Bakırhan is a member of Turkey`s pro-Kurdish Peoples` Democratic Party, also known as the HDP, which the government accuses of being the political wing of the Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK). The party denies the accusation.
The sentencing comes three days after authorities detained Gültan Kişanak and Firat Anlı, the popular co-mayors of Diyarbakır, a Kurdish-majority city in southeastern Turkey, as part of what was called a terrorism investigation.
Diyarbakir`s prosecutor said Anlı and Kişanak, who was a member of parliament before becoming the city`s first female mayor in 2014, had given speeches sympathetic to the PKK.
Three city officials in Diyarbakir were also detained on Thursday after hanging a banner outside the city hall in support of Kişanak and Anlı, municipal officials said.
The banner had pictures of the two politicians and read, Respect the will of the people, free our mayors. It was later removed by police.
A PKK leader has urged Kurds to rise up in solidarity with the mayors, according to Firat News Agency. Cemil Bayık has said the importance of Diyarbakır, a city of 1.7 million people, meant that actions against its elected officials were attacks on all Kurds.
In a related development, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement released on Friday that it was very concerned about the detention of Kişanak and Anlı, which has prompted protests by Kurds in Diyarbakır and Istanbul.
On Thursday, five members of Turkish security forces and five Kurdish militants were killed in clashes in the southeast. Two soldiers were killed in a clash near Hani, a town outside Diyarbakır. A third died in a firefight outside Çukurca, near the Iraqi border, where five militants were also killed. Another soldier was killed by a homemade explosive device in Bingol, north of Diyarbakır, and a Kurd was killed in Batman province to the east.
Violence has escalated since the PKK called off a two-year ceasefire with the government in the wake of the July 2015 bombing in the southern Kurdish-majority town of Suruç, which claimed more than 30 civilian lives. Turkish officials held the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group responsible for the act of terror.
The PKK militants, who accuse the government of supporting Daesh, launched a string of supposed reprisal attacks against Turkish security forces after the bomb attack, in turn prompting the Turkish military to tighten the noose on the PKK.
Photo on front page: Tuncer Bakırhan, the pro-Kurdish mayor of Turkey`s Siirt. Source: Press TV. Photo on this page: Police officers push protesters with their shields during a demonstration on October 28, 2016, in Istanbul following the arrest of two co-mayors in Diyarbakır. Source: AFP.
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