State-appointed mayor in Turkey’s Batman province removes Kurdish from municipality website

The government-appointed municipality in Turkey’s eastern city of Batman has removed the Kurdish language from its website, just leaving Turkish language content, Gazete Duvar said on Sunday.

Turkish authorities on March 23 removed the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) co-mayors of Batman on terrorism charges and replaced them with appointees.

The total number of HDP mayors removed from their posts since the local elections in March 2019 has reached 40.

The government escalated its crackdown against pro-Kurdish politicians after launching a military offensive against Kurdish-held territories in northern Syria last October.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for self-rule in southeast Turkey for more than 30 years.

The government-appointed administrators in predominantly Kurdish regions have reportedly taken measures to reverse previous positive steps taken by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) towards recognising the Kurdish identity shared by millions of Turkish citizens.

These measures included shutting down organisations promoting Kurdish language and culture, removing Kurdish names from public parks and streets, and destroying Kurdish cultural monuments.