Turkey removes four more HDP mayors in southeast

Turkey has replaced four district mayors elected in March from the mainly-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) with government appointees on Saturday, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said.

The total number of HDP mayors removed from their posts since the local elections has reached 24, as the government escalated its crackdown against the pro-Kurdish politicians since the start of a military offensive in northern Syria against Kurdish-held territories along the Turkish border. 

The mayors of Mazıdağ, Savur and Derik districts in the southeastern province of Mardin and Suruç district in Şanlıurfa were replaced with appointees, following their detention by the police over alleged terror links.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for self-rule in southeast Turkey for more than 30 years. 

Ankara has intensified a crackdown on the Kurdish political movement since peace talks with the PKK broke down in 2015. HDP lawmakers and mayors have frequently been dismissed from their roles or faced legal charges in the years since.