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Kurdish Mayors In Turkey Arrested For Supporting Self-Rule

A Turkish court on August 23 remanded in custody three mayors from Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey on charges of trying to destroy national unity by allegedly supporting calls for Kurdish self-rule in the region.

Those placed under arrest include Sayeid Narin and Fatma Sik Barut, the co-mayors of the central Sur district in the city of Diyarbakir, and Yuksel Bodakci, the mayor of the nearby town of Silvan.

The Anatolia news agency said they were charged with seeking "to break up the unity of the state and integrity of the country." It was not immediately clear when their trial would begin.

All three are members of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), which has close ties with Turkey's main pro-Kurdish political force the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

The investigation comes as Turkey carries out its biggest operation in years against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants who have responded by tearing up a 2013 ceasefire and staging daily attacks against the security forces.

Meanwhile, Turkish military officials said PKK militants on August 23 killed a Turkish soldier in the southeastern Diyarbakir region who was guarding a hydroelectric dam.

Turkey’s military on August 23 also confirmed reports that 11 customs officials and their driver have been abducted from the Kapikoy border crossing with Iran in eastern Turkey's Van region.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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