Turkish PM, interior minister slam US Embassy statement on trustee appointments to municipalities
ISTANBUL / MUŞ
DHA photoPrime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu have criticized an “unacceptable” statement by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara regarding the controversial appointment of trustees to a number of municipalities in Turkey’s east on terrorism charges and the clashes that erupted in the aftermath.
Yıldırım claimed that all mayors replaced on Sept. 11 had provided support to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), saying it was unacceptable for the embassy to try to “give Turkey a democracy lesson.”
“Unfortunately, some municipalities have become the logistical center of the separatist terror organization [PKK]. They have engaged in unlawful acts such as transferring state resources and the public’s taxes to the separatist terror organization, rather than spending them on developing the province, district or town,” he told reporters in Istanbul after Eid al-Adha prayers.
“This is the situation in all replaced municipalities. That is the truth revealed by investigations at the end of the judicial process. So the fact that some are now trying to give Turkey a democracy lesson is never acceptable,” Yıldırım added.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Soylu claimed that the embassy’s statement amounted to an “intervention in Turkey’s domestic affairs.”
“The statement made by an ambassador yesterday saddened us. We see it as an intervention into Turkey’s domestic affairs and find such an evaluation unacceptable,” Soylu said on Sept. 12 during an Eid visit in the eastern province of Muş.
“Such irresponsible statements only encourage terror. No one has the right to do that. Especially the envoys of countries we define as friends and allies do not have the right to make evaluations on this issue. Describing Turkey in such a way is a great unfairness for our country and nation. It is a statement that includes an element of incitement,” he added.
In a statement on Sept. 11, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara had expressed its concerns in the aftermath of clashes in some southeastern provinces following the removal of mayors and assignment of trustees to 28 municipalities predominantly in Turkey’s east and southeast.
“We are concerned by reports of clashes in Turkey’s southeast following the government’s decision to remove some elected local officials from office on charges of supporting terrorism, and appoint local trustees in their place. The United States condemns terrorism and supports Turkey’s right to defend itself. As Turkish authorities investigate allegations that some local officials have participated in or provided material support to terrorist groups, we note the importance of respect for judicial due process and individual rights, including the right of peaceful political expression, as enshrined in the Turkish constitution. We hope that any appointment of trustees will be temporary and that local citizens will soon be permitted to choose new local officials in accordance with Turkish law,” the embassy’s statement read.