Turkish government denies blackmailing mayors to resign

Turkey’s government did not make any threats to the family of the former mayor of the western town of Balıkesir to pressure him to resign, spokesman for the ruling AK Party said on Wednesday.

“We have not used any threats or language of blackmail towards any of our mayors,” Mahir Ünal said in response the mayor, Ahmet Edip Uğur, who said he had resigned in response to threats to his family.

“If certain people at the Balıkesir level who do not know their place have taken advantage of the situation and exceeded their bounds, he needs to take legal action against these persons,” Ünal said.

Uğur, the fifth elected mayor to resign on the president’s orders as part of a campaign of party renewal, said it was no longer possible to conduct politics within the AK Party.

“You are not corrupt, not breaking the rules, not unsuccessful, have no links to FETÖ (the Fethullah Gülen movement), but the threats go as far as your family and household,” Uğur said.

“This situation has gone beyond tolerability.”

Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said if Uğur had a case, he should take legal action.

“If such a thing has happened, the mayor knows what authorities he needs to apply to, and he must apply to them,” he said.

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