I FEAR we may be succumbing to Crushing Democracy Fatigue. We read so often about democratically elected representatives being summarily dismissed by governments that describe themselves as democracies, I fear it is no longer registering as news.

Three weeks ago, we read about the Kashmiris facing a crackdown by India. Last week it was the turn of the Kurds in Eastern Turkey. Again.

On August 19 the co-mayors of Amed (Diyarbakir), Mardin and Van were summarily dismissed and replaced by government appointees, and their municipal governments were disbanded. In a pre-emptive strike before this was announced, more than 400 members of their Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were arrested.

These mayors were elected on absolute majorities at the end of March – despite Turkish government actions that heavily tainted the election process. Their dismissal was, as the HDP observed in their public statement, “a new and clear political coup” and “a clearly hostile move against the political will of the Kurdish people”.

The HDP is a leftist political party that stands up for minority rights. It has come out of the struggle for Kurdish rights and gets its strength from Turkey’s Kurdish south-east, but its policies and programme address a multicultural constituency. Kurdish political parties have faced continual and brutal suppression in Turkey, which refuses to accept any identity and cultural expression other than Turkish.

This background, as well as recent history, ensured that the dismissal of the mayors was not unexpected. In the period prior to the recent local elections, 94 out of 99 Kurdish-run authorities were disbanded, and 93 co-mayors and hundreds of assembly members were imprisoned. Immediately after these elections, six elected mayors and many more elected council members were disallowed from taking up office, and were replaced by the losing candidate from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The HDP’s former co-leaders are also behind bars.

Despite the usual heavy-handed policing, thousands have come out in protest but have been met with tear gas, rubber bullets and more arrests. People detained since Monday have gone on hunger strike to protest against violence and other mistreatment in police custody.

The reason given for cracking down on the HDP, as on anyone who criticises the Turkish government or wants to express their Kurdish identity, is that they are supporting terrorism. The HDP’s insistence on male and female co-leaderships was used as an example of their terrorist sympathies.

The dismissed mayors have called for support from international public opinion. There have been statements of condemnation from around the globe and here in Scotland, Ross Greer has lodged a Parliamentary motion. Please urge your MSP to sign, and also to sign the two motions on Kashmir.

We need strong statements such as this, but we also have to acknowledge that they are only a start. They are quickly forgotten and overtaken by the next anti-democratic coup, and they do little to interfere with business as usual.

We can’t wait for our politicians to act, but must push them from below – proving yet again that a functional democracy is about much more than going to a ballot box every few years. In fact, we need more of the bottom-up engagement that is central to the HDP’s philosophy.

Each time the wider world lets pass an attack on democratically elected representatives and democratic institutions, it becomes that bit easier for other governments to follow suit.

Turkey’s interior minister justified their clampdown with reference to Spain’s arrest of the Catalan independence leaders. Other would-be autocrats will be watching international responses to Turkey. If crushing democracy begins to be seen as normal and un-newsworthy, we can expect to see this repeated.

Sarah Glynn is co-convener of Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan