Ministry replaces HDP mayor in southern Turkish town with trustee
MERSİNThe Interior Ministry appointed a trustee to the Akdeniz Municipality in the southern province of Mersin on Dec. 18, replacing detained co-mayor Yüksel Mutlu from the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Doğan News Agency has reported.
Hamdi Bilge Aktaş, who was working as the Akdeniz district governor, has been appointed to the municipality as a trustee and will start his duties on Dec. 19.
Police recently detained Mutlu and an arrest warrant was issued for the other co-mayor M. Fazıl Türk on terror charges.
Earlier, trustee panels had also been appointed to other municipalities, including the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and its Sur and Silvan districts, the eastern provinces of Van, Siirt and Tunceli, and the southeastern province of Mardin.
The move came as 10 MPs from the HDP, including its co-leaders, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested in November on charges of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The controversial appointment of trustees to municipalities was made possible by a state of emergency decree passed after the failed July 15 coup attempt.
The replacement of mayors, deputy mayors and municipal council members was made possible if the elected official is suspended on terror charges, according to the decree.