Turkish authorities remove four mayors of pro-Kurdish HDP

Turkish authorities have removed from office four mayors elected in March from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and replaced them with government-appointed mayors on Saturday, Rudaw reported.

Three district mayors in the eastern province of Van, who were detained on Friday over alleged terror links, have been removed, according to a statement by the Van Governor’s Office. 

Meanwhile, security forces raided the İkiköprü town municipality in the southeastern province of Batman early Saturday. The interior ministry announced that the mayor of the town had been replaced by a district governor due to an ongoing trial over terror charges.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of harbouring sympathies to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting in the country’s southeast for over three decades for autonomy. The number of HDP mayors removed from their seats since local elections in March has reached 28 as of Saturday.

The HDP also lost its majority in the Southeast Region Municipalities Union’s assembly, as 70 HDP members of the assembly have been replaced by government-appointed ones, Mezopotamya news agency reported on Friday. The party still has 81 seats in the 251-member assembly.