Mayors ousted under post-coup emergency
TURKEY removed 28 mayors accused of links to Kurdish militants or US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, using emergency powers to replace them with state-appointed trustees in a move that sparked accusations of trampling on democracy.
The mayors have been suspended from their posts on suspicion of links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is waging a deadly insurgency in the southeast, or to Mr Gulen, who is blamed for the July 15 failed coup, an interior ministry statement said.
Using special powers under the state of emergency imposed in the wake of the abortive putsch, they have been replaced by stateappointed trustees, similar to administrators appointed to head a company that goes into bankruptcy.
Twenty-four of the outgoing mayors are accused of links to the PKK and four of links to Mr Gulen, the ministry said. The reclusive cleric denies charges of masterminding the coup.
The move is the most important step yet taken by Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu since he took over from Efkan Ala in a surprise reshuffle earlier this month.
Mr Soylu said the move meant that local municipalities would no longer be controlled by “terrorists or those under instructions from Qandil”, referring to the PKK’s mountain base in northern Iraq.
The decree was issued under the three-month state of emergency imposed after the coup.
The municipalities affected – mainly in the Kurdish-dominated southeast – include hugely important urban areas known as centres of PKK activity such as Sur and Silvan in the Diyarbakir region and Nusaybin in the Mardin region.
The mayors of the cities of Batman and Hakkari have also been replaced. The interior ministry said 12 of the mayors suspended were already under arrest. –