Recently, the mayors of three major provinces in southeastern Turkey were removed from office due to terrorism charges and replaced by trustees. The move led to various discussions as some overlooked the reasons behind the removals and acted as if this was a baseless action, leading Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu to clarify the case by saying that "mayors can only be discharged if their links to the terrorist groups are proven." Uncovered evidence supports the minister's remarks as it presents solid proof of the former mayors' connections with the PKK terrorist group.
Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı is being charged with the terrorist charges, including establishing and managing a terrorist organization. His trial in Diyarbakır 9th Heavy Penal Court is already in progress, as well as the investigations of chief public prosecutor's offices and investigations of the Ministry of Interior for terrorist charges.
The evidence shows Mızraklı publicly showing his support for the terrorist organization by joining the press release held by the terrorist organization and its supporters after İsmail Özden, code named "Mam Zeki Şengali," was detained on the charges of conducting operations of the PKK terrorist organization and attacking Turkish businesses by Germany, was wanted for charges connected to six different terrorist actions such as "deliberately killing, disrupting the unity of state and integrity of country, establishing and managing a terrorist organization;" the final charge was carried out within the terrorist group's umbrella organization, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).
The evidence also includes photographs of Mızraklı joining a funeral of a terrorist who conducted an attack against a patrol vehicle belonging to the Diyarbakır Provincial Police Department on Oct. 10, 2007 and was the perpetrator of the incident where one police officer was killed while two others were wounded as well as two civilians. The terrorist reportedly committed suicide in accordance with the instructions provided by the PKK.
In addition to the evidence against him, Mızraklı is also known for one of his first actions as mayor, when he reinstated individuals expelled due to terrorist connections. He went even further later and allowed those expelled with terrorism charges to unofficially work at the municipality.
Mızraklı can also be seen in photographs attending the anniversary of the PKK's first armed terrorist action, which took place on Aug. 15, 1984 and killed six soldiers.
Speaking on live TV recently, Soylu noted that a mayor must have links to a terrorist group to be replaced since no other crime can be used as a reason for such a move.
"For a trustee to be appointed to Istanbul, Ankara or any other province, he or she needs to have a connection or coherence with terrorism," Soylu said, adding that the term "trustee" is not exactly the correct word to explain the replacement process.
"Turkey has been using the incorrect term. The right term is temporarily appointed mayor. When you say trustee, it means that someone is being discharged from his or her position completely [and some other person is appointed to replace him]. We do not remove a mayor. We lay them off from their job with the jurisdiction that the laws and Constitution provides us. As a measurement, we appoint a temporary acting mayor with, again, the jurisdiction that the law gives us," the minister said.
The mayor of Mardin province, Ahmet Türk, on the other hand, is facing trials on terrorism charges, including establishing and managing a terrorist organization and spreading terrorist propaganda. The trials are currently in progress in Mardin Heavy Penal Court alongside various investigations. As a mayor, Türk provided a cemetery to the terrorists, which was constructed with 20 representative empty graves for 20 killed terrorists. Besides, he appointed an individual named Cabbar Leygar about whom an investigation is being conducted for terrorism charges as director general to Mardin Kent Inc., where 2,000 personnel work for the municipality. Türk can also be seen in the pictures where he stands in silence alongside other participants while a terrorist anthem was being sung in an election meeting on Jan. 30, 2019.
Bedia Özgökçe Ertan is also being charged with creating propaganda for a terrorist group, and her trial is already in progress as well as ongoing investigations. The evidence shows Ertan at the funeral of the terrorist Mevlüde Bozkurt, who attacked security forces while being active in rural branches of the terrorist group. Evidence also places Ertan in Faqiye Teyran Park listening to speeches praising the PKK's leader Abdullah Öcalan back in Dec. 20, 2015. Ertan is also known for providing job opportunities for individuals who had been expelled from their jobs on terrorism charges.
The PKK terrorist organization resumed its decades-old campaign in July 2015 after a three year cease-fire collapsed. Since then, more than 1,200 people, including security personnel and civilians, have lost their lives in PKK attacks. During the process, some Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) municipalities directly or indirectly supported these violent terrorist activities. As a result, Turkey removed the elected administrations of 94 municipalities in the region for their links to the PKK terrorist group and appointed trustees to these municipalities in 2016. According to the ministry's statement last week, 41 of the former mayors have been given a total of 237 years, 237 months and 171 days of imprisonment by a court on charges of terrorism and crimes related to terrorism. The pro-PKK HDP mayors, who were from eastern and southeastern provinces and districts, were replaced by governors, deputy governors and district governors.