Turkey suspends 259 local officials for ‘terror links’   

Turkey suspends 259 local officials for ‘terror links’   

Turkey suspends 259 local officials for ‘terror links’

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu

Turkey has suspended 259 senior local officials over alleged terror links and activities unrelated to their posts, the Interior Ministry said on Oct. 15.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu removed 259 local neighborhood heads—“muhtar” in Turkish—from their posts, his office said in a statement.

It did not provide further details on what terror organizations the officials were allegedly linked to.

The muhtar is the elected chief of a village or a city neighborhood and is responsible for day-to-day services for residents such as registration.     

Turkey has suspended 140,000 public sector employees because of alleged links to the illegal PKK and FETÖ, widely believed to have orchestrated the July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Last week, the ministry suspended 559 village guards—locals employed to combat PKK militants—accused of links to terror organizations, while 76 were accused of human trafficking and drug-related crimes.

The PKK is listed as a terror organization by Ankara and its Western allies.

Turkish authorities detained 137 people in countrywide operations earlier this month over alleged links to the PKK.