Protests as Turkey assumes control of pro-Kurdish municipalities

Turkish security forces used tear gas on protesters in the south-eastern province of Hakkari on Sunday after Turkish authorities dismissed dozens of pro-Kurdish mayors and councils.

Four people were arrested, CNN Turk reported.

Turkey assumed control of local authorities in 28 municipalities, the Interior Ministry announced earlier Sunday, effectively overriding the power of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in parts of the south-east.

State administrators have been appointed to the municipalities where the HDP opposition party enjoys high levels of support, the ministry said.

This includes the south-eastern provinces of Hakkari and Batman.

The Interior Ministry said 24 are facing investigation for their alleged support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed movement embroiled in a long-running conflict with government forces in the predominantly Kurdish south-east.

Four others are suspected of links to Islamic cleric Fetullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for a coup attempt on July 15, the ministry added.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag wrote on Twitter that administrations that supported terror had lost their democratic legitimacy.

The government in Ankara has been able to replace these unwanted figures by decree, made possible under the state of emergency announced shortly after a faction of the country's military failed to grab power.

The HDP has slammed the government's interference in local-level politics as unacceptable and unconstitutional and accused Ankara of robbing voters of a voice.

Many Kurds in Turkey's south-east complain of systemic discrimination by the state, with demands for greater rights and autonomy.

Last update: Sun, 11/09/2016 - 23:10
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