Four Pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP)'s mayors in eastern Turkey were dismissed and replaced for allegedly supporting terrorism, officials said Saturday.
The mayors of Suruç in Şanlıurfa as well as the Mazıdağı, Savur, and Derik districts of Mardin -- Hatice Çevik, Nalan Özaydin, Gulistan Öncü and Mulkiye Esmez, respectively -- have been suspended due to their suspected links to the PKK terrorist organization, the provinces' governorships said in official announcements.
On Saturday, the mayors of Mazıdağ, Savur and Derik in the southeastern province of Mardin were replaced with appointees, as the mayor of the Suruç district, Çevik was replaced with district governor Kenan Aktaş.
According to the statement, Özaydin was replaced with Mazıdağ District Governor Duran Kalkan, Öncü was replaced with Savur District Governor Bayram Türker, while Esmez was replaced with Derik District Governor Hakan Kafkas.
The HDP is accused of having links to the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorist group.
Previously on October 22, mayors of Diyarbakır's Kayapınar, Kocaköy and Bismil districts and mayor of the Erciş district of eastern Van province were replaced with district governors over ties to the PKK. Earlier on August 19, mayors of Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin metropolitan municipalities were replaced with governors.
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. 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.
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. The pro-PKK HDP mayors, who were from eastern and southeastern provinces and districts, were replaced by governors, deputy governors and district governors.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
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