Turkey: 3 mayors suspended over alleged terror links
Mayors suspended from Peoples' Democratic Party, accused by government of having links to PKK terror group
The Turkish Interior Ministry on Monday suspended three mayors in eastern and southeastern Turkey for supporting terrorism.
According to an official statement by the ministry, the mayors of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van provinces -- Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli, Ahmet Turk and Bedia Ozgokce Ertan, respectively have been suspended.
It added that the mayors already had active cases against them in which they were accused of crimes such as establishing or spreading propaganda for a terror group or else just being a member.
All mayors are from the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), a party Turkey's government has accused of having links to the PKK terror group.
The state-appointed governors of the provinces will temporarily replace suspended mayors.
The Interior Ministry, later, released a statement in three languages including Kurdish and English regarding the incident, saying: "Our Ministry suspended mayors, who were identified and proven to be engaged and affiliated with terrorist organizations and to support them, from their duties pursuant to the Article 127 of the Constitution and the Article 47 of the Municipality Law No. 5393. In substitution for them, acting mayors were appointed in accordance with the Article 45 of the Municipality Law".
"As a result of the heavy struggle of all units of the State in this process, the participation to the terrorist organizations have fallen to the lowest level of the last 30 years and the number of terrorists in our territories have declined from the figures of 1,800-2,000 to some 600," it said.
"The resources of municipalities in many provinces/districts in the eastern and southeastern region have been canalized for local services instead of financing the terrorist organization while our provinces, intended to be turned into a chaotic structure through the trenches and barricades erected by the terrorist organization and its supporters have been introduced with the genuine municipalism highlighting the peace and service. Thanks to this, public resources have been secured and the level of peace and prosperity of our citizens have enhanced by means of mobilizing the resources into municipal services," the ministry noted.
"Therefore, persons, in particular Ahmet Turk who was under custody, but was ruled to be jailed trial without arrest on account of his health problems, indicted and prosecuted due to offenses of forming or commanding an armed terrorist organization, becoming a member of an armed terrorist organization, making propaganda for the terrorist organization, praising an offense and offender were deliberately and willfully nominated as mayor candidate in some municipalities," it said.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.