Interior minister rules out appointing trustees to Istanbul and Ankara municipalities
The government can appoint trustees to municipalities only if the mayors in question are proven to have links with terrorist organizations, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said, saying that removing the Istanbul and Ankara mayors was out of question.
“Mayors, district governors, neighborhood heads... all should work within the boundaries of the law. They should act in accordance with the laws that define their jobs. Appointing trustees to Istanbul, Ankara and others requires [finding out] a terror link. Such a thing is out of question,” Soylu told private broadcaster CNNTürk in an interview on Sept. 8.
Speculations that Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş, the mayors of Istanbul and Ankara from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), would be removed from office mounted after the Interior Ministry appointed trustees to the southeastern and eastern provinces of Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin, whose mayors are from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Soylu said the mayors of these three provinces were associated with the PKK, claiming that the mayors were “trying to turn these municipalities into terror centers.” “No state can turn a blind eye to something like this. I cannot digest this,” he said.
The minister criticized İmamoğlu for paying a visit to Diyarbakır to meet expelled mayor Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı and for lending support to him. “He said he brought to Diyarbakır the best regards of 16 million residents of Istanbul. I am a citizen of Istanbul but I did not sent my regards to these people who attend the funeral of terrorists and who name streets after terrorists,” Soylu said.
Soylu said that as interior minister, he will continue to “speak out when I see wrong acts from mayors.”
“In June, Istanbul made a decision. They elected a mayor. It’s both a democratic and legal decision. The mayor fulfills his job and the people appreciate him. A mayor is elected to serve his constituency and not to rule the entire country. You may want to do politics but you should first do your job,” he said.