Turkey deports Italian mayor

Massimiliano Voza (left) had planned to attend Newroz celebrations in Turkey.

Italian mayor Massimiliano Voza, stopped at an airport in Istanbul on Thursday, will be deported on Friday as a ‘persona non grata’, according to La Redazione.

The mayor of the small southern municipality, Santomenna, left Italy in order to participate in the annual Newroz (spring equinox) celebrations in Southeastern Turkey.

Voza had planned to attend the spring celebration day on 21 March together with a delegation including members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

Even though his cell phone was confiscated, Voza managed to contact the Italian Consulate General in Istanbul that informed his family of his situation.

Details as to why Voza is being deported are unclear but it is thought that the Italian mayor’s close ties with Kurdish and pro-Kurdish politics in Turkey is behind the decision.

Authorities have targeted opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) officials ahead of the 21 March celebrations, which is also celebrated as a new year by Kurds.