In a new government crackdown on a pro-Kurdish party, Turkey on Monday removed from office the elected mayors of three cities in the mostly Kurdish-populated southeast region over their alleged links to rebels, replacing them with government appointees.
The mayors of the cities of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van — members of the People’s Democratic Party, or HDP — were sacked over alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and over evidence that they had allegedly aided the outlawed organization, an Interior Ministry statement said.
They were removed some five months after being elected to office in local elections.
In a similar move in 2016, the government ousted mayors from nearly 100 municipalities in the southeast region and replaced them with government appointees during a state of emergency declared after a failed military coup.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had warned prior to the election that pro-Kurdish mayors could be replaced by a caretaker should they win.
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