Five pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) mayors have been detained on suspicion of having terrorist links, reports said Monday.
Batman Mayor Mehmet Demir, Diyarbakır’s Silvan District Mayor Naşide Toprak, Ergani District Mayor Ahmet Kaya, Lice Mayor Tarık Mercan and Eğil District Mayor Mustafa Akkul were detained as part of an anti-terror probe early Monday.
The police are searching the offices of the mayors, reports said.
Silvan District Gov. Mehmet Uslu has been appointed as a trustee to replace mayor Toprak.
The HDP has many times drawn fire for transferring taxpayer money and funds to the PKK, a globally recognized terrorist group. HDP mayors and local officials have been found to misuse funds in support of the PKK terrorist group and provide jobs to PKK sympathizers.
Its mayors have also been accused of undermining municipal services, allowing the PKK to dig ditches in the streets and launch attacks on police and soldiers when the terrorist group adopted an urban warfare strategy in July 2015 and ended a two-year reconciliation period. HDP municipalities and their staff were also found to be actively participating in terrorist attacks launched after July 2015.
As a result, Turkey removed the elected administrations of 93 municipalities in the region for their links to the PKK terrorist group and appointed trustees to these municipalities in 2016 in the aftermath of the coup attempt launched by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Municipalities run by the HDP helped terrorists in various towns and cities dig trenches and erect barricades, which were manned by local sympathizers and young people. Mainly deployed in the southeastern Diyarbakır, Şırnak and Mardin provinces, this strategy led to the destruction of entire neighborhoods in clashes, with the most damage inflicted on Şırnak's city center and in the districts of Sur, Cizre and Nusaybin.
However, the strategy collapsed because of successful anti-terrorist operations and the lack of cooperation from the people in the region. The cities suffered significant damage during the operations. Since then, the government has invested huge amounts of money to restore infrastructure and public services in the region.