Turkey’s main opposition will not join protests against mayor dismissals - report

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has decided not to join the protests against the government’s dismissal of three recently elected mayors of the predominantly-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), but will continue to denounce the move via statements, Milliyet newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry announced early Monday morning that the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, three key provinces in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast, had been removed from office, alleging they had used their posts to support terror activities.

In response, the HDP announced that all of its deputies would take part in protests against the dismissals in all three southeast provinces, as well as in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, and the capital, Ankara. 

Meanwhile, the CHP’s executive board gathered on Monday to discuss the strategy to be followed after the dismissals. CHP sources told Milliyet that the party saw the move as a coup against democracy. 

“This decision is not legal but political. We have now drifted away from democracy,” Milliyet quotes CHP’s chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as saying during the party meeting. 

Oğuz Kaan Salıcı, the party’s deputy head, also met with the party’s Van and Diyarbakır provincial organisations’ presidents to discuss the steps to be taken, Milliyet said. 

“It is learned that the CHP will not join any protests to be organised in provinces where mayors were removed, but will continue to criticise the decision on removals via statements,” Milliyet said.