This morning the Turkish interior ministry replaced the HDP mayors of the cities of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van. State governors have been appointed in their place. Another 418 people, mainly municipal council members and employees, have been also detained.

“The people’s will in Turkey is apparently only respected as long as it serves the ruling AKP. These mayors were elected by their constituents less than 5 months ago. What the AKP couldn’t gain through elections, it is now gaining by undemocratic and plainly unlawful means,” commented S&D Vice-President Kati Piri.

“The Kurdish people also have fundamental rights. Legitimate and democratic opposition to the government’s policies cannot be labelled as terrorism. The S&D Group stands firmly behind all democratic forces in Turkey and urges the government to reverse this unjustified decision. This is not the first time that Turkish government replaces democratically elected mayors with trustees. Despite the previous dismissals and the repression that followed, HDP was able to win the elections again 5 months later in these municipalities,” added Piri.