Riots break out across Turkey after Kurdish politician disqualified from mayoral election

Unrest broke out across the country following the mayoral vote disqualification

Riots broke out in several Turkish cities on Tuesday night after local 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, an electoral board disqualified him, citing his past criminal conviction for supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey considers a terrorist group.
In 2016, Zeydan was sent to prison for one year for “abetting” and “propagandizing” for the PKK. He was released in 2022. According to prosecutors, his three-year ban from running for office had not yet expired, making 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.

🔴Van’da terör örgütü PKK destekçileri ortalığı ateşe verdi.Apatmanlara molotof atmaya başladılar bir çok iş yeri talan oldu yağmalandı!!️ Çevik Kuvvet müdahale ediyor. — Online Haber Merkezi (@onlinehabermrkz)

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

Batman’da sokağa çıkan DEM Partililer ‘biji apo’ sloganları atıp esnafın işyerlerini camlarını kırıp polis ile çatışmaya başladılar!!️ — Online Haber Merkezi (@onlinehabermrkz)

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

⚠️SON DAKİKA⚠️ ASKER ŞEHİRE İNDİ..⚠️Hakkari’de asker olaylara müdahale etmek için şehre indi⚠️ — Online Haber Merkezi (@onlinehabermrkz)

The March 31 municipal elections delivered several major blows to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party. The challengers from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) retained the mayorships in Istanbul and Ankara – the country’s economic powerhouse and its capital, respectively.