New state-appointed mayor in Turkey’s Van province scraps city council

The new state-appointed mayor in Turkey’s eastern province of Van has abolished the city council, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Mehmet Emin Bilmez, who was appointed by the government following the dismissal of the province’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) mayor on Monday, made the announcement that city council had effectively been scraped in a written statement sent to the council members.

Bilmez is one of three state-appointed officials, who on Monday replaced pro-Kurdish HDP mayors elected in the March 31 local election.

The move by the Turkish government to remove from office the mayors of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van provinces in eastern Turkey for "spreading propaganda" or being members of a "terrorist" organisation has sparked international concern.

The EU Commission spokesperson on Monday said the dismissals puts Turkey’s respect of democratic outcomes into question, while the Council of Europe has said the move undermines the proper functioning of local democracy.