Turkey assumes control of local authorities suspected of PKK support

Turkey has assumed control of local authorities in 28 municipalities, the Interior Ministry announced on 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.

Twenty-eight mayors and civil servants across varying levels of local government have been removed in recent days.

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

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

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.

Among the affected municipalities are the south-eastern provinces of Hakkari and Batman, in which the HDP has majority support.

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 - 13:09
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