Gov’t-linked contractor arrested for embezzlement in southeast Turkey

A contractor awarded tenders worth millions of liras by a government appointed official replacing the elected mayor of the southeastern Mardin province was arrested on charges of embezzlement and corruption, T24 news site reported on Saturday.

Adnan Yüksel, the owner of the Batur Energy Company, was found guilty of a string of crimes, including bid rigging and bribery, it said.

The tender projects awarded by government-appointed officials to Yüksel’s company include a 45. 2 million lira drinking water project for Kızıltepe district and a 6.2 million lira potable water and sewage construction project for 20 villages.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) Ahmet Türk, won 56.2 percent of the vote to become the mayor of Mardin in the March 2019 local elections, but was removed and replaced by the government in the following August.

The Turkish government has assigned state-appointed officials to almost all HDP mayors in the country’s Kurdish-majority east and southeast as part of a crackdown on the group. Currently the party holds six district municipalities out of the 65 provincial and district seats it won.

Ankara accuses HDP’s mayors of using municipal funds to support the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for close to 40 years.