Replacement of mayors ‘long overdue,’ says Turkish president
ISTANBULThe replacement of 28 mayors across Turkey on terror charges with trustees was a “long-overdue move,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 12, while Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım signaled the possibility of further dismissals in municipalities in the coming days.
“Of course this is not a new thing. For me, it is a long-overdue step. It should have been taken earlier. This was also my wish previously,” Erdoğan told reporters after prayers at an Istanbul mosque on the first day of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.
“Being elected as a mayor doesn’t mean that you can give support to terrorist organizations as mayors or as a municipal council. You do not have such authority. You are only obliged to provide service, including investments in infrastructure, to citizens living within your town or area of responsibility,” he said, accusing the replaced municipalities of lending support to terrorist organizations.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, meanwhile, did not rule out further new replacement trustee appointments in municipalities.
“Of course, there may be [new appointments]. The principle here is that municipalities and local administrations are the closest administration units to the nation. What is their purpose? Carrying out their duties for citizens with the votes they get from citizens in provinces, districts and towns, fulfilling their needs,” Yıldırım said, claiming that some municipalities had engaged in unlawful acts and provided support to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
As a part of a recent decree law the under state of emergency, the Interior Ministry appointed trustees to 28 local municipalities across Turkey on Sept. 11 on the grounds that they allegedly provided support to the PKK and the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), which is accused of staging the failed coup attempt of July 15.
Some 24 of the replaced mayors were from eastern and southeastern provinces, accused of actively providing support to the PKK.