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Turkey dismisses pro-Kurdish mayor over alleged 'terrorist' links

Monday, 3 June, 2024 , 12:29

Ankara, June 3, 2024 (AFP) — Turkey's interior ministry said on Monday a pro-Kurdish mayor had been dismissed and replaced by a local governor for allegedly belonging to a "terrorist" organisation.

It was the first dismissal of a pro-Kurdish mayor since the local elections on March 31, in which the pro-Kurdish DEM party won control of 77 municipalities across Turkey.

"Mehmet Siddik Akis was dismissed from his functions as a temporary measure," the ministry said on social media platform X and was taken into custody "for belonging to a terrorist organisation".

Ali Celik, governor of the southeastern city of Hakkari, has been appointed in Akis' place, the ministry said.

In the March local elections, DEM -- accused by the Turkish government of links to outlawed Kurdish militants -- gained control of the local authorities in several large towns in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast, including the region's largest city, Diyarbakir.

More than 50 mayors elected in the southeast in the 2019 local elections on the HDP (now DEM) ticket have been stripped of office and replaced by state-appointed administrators for alleged ties to Kurdish militants.

The moves follow a 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, which prompted a massive crackdown on opponents of all stripes.