Turkey's Interior Ministry probes 93 municipalities for supporting PKK
Fevzi KIZILKOYUN / ANKARA
DHA photoTurkey’s Interior Ministry has launched investigations into 93 eastern municipalities held by the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) on charges of lending logistical support to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The DBP, the sister party of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), holds municipalities in three metropolitan cities, 11 cities, 68 districts and 23 towns. The DBP-held metropolitan municipalities in Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van are subject to the investigation.
The ministry may rule to discharge some mayors if it opts to bring forward prosecution against those municipalities.
Sources told daily Hürriyet that some notices claimed that these municipalities had provided logistical support to PKK members located in the cities; supported militants in self-declared autonomous zones; provided construction equipment and personnel for the PKK in cities; employed people with links to the PKK; provided ammunition, weapons and vehicles to PKK members; and helped PKK members hide, escape and be treated.
The investigation is based on claims that the mayors helped PKK fighters who had clashed with the security forces to escape and hide.
The mayors are also suspected of declaring self-governance under PKK orders and making propaganda for the group, according to the investigation.
Police are also investigating a number of associations on claims of cooperating and giving support to the PKK, even providing human shields for their escape.
Four DBP co-mayors were detained on Aug. 19 in two districts of Diyarbakır over recent statements declaring autonomy from Ankara.
The recent prevalence of autonomy statements from DBP officials in southeastern provinces first began on Aug. 10 in Şırnak, when DBP provincial head Salih Gülenç vowed to “build their lives on the basis of democracy” on the grounds that the state had lost its legitimacy.
The second statement, meanwhile, came from Hakkari on the same day as military operations continued against the PKK. DBP Hakkari central district co-chair İbrahim Çiftçi declared the area’s autonomy, saying, “No one assigned by the state will govern us.”
On Aug. 15, similar autonomy statements came from the Silvan district of Diyarbakır and the southeastern province of Batman. Batman Municipality co-chairs Sabri Özdemir and Gülistan Akel made a joint statement declaring autonomy for the southeastern province.