Aug 22 2019

Diyarbakır governor requested the removal of mayor one day after March 31 polls

Turkish Interior Ministry’s decision to remove Selçuk Mızraklı, the co-mayor of southeastern province of Diyarbakır, was based on an official request made by the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office a day after local polls on March 31, according to an official circular shared on Twitter.

The Turkish Interior Ministry removed Mızraklı from the predominantly-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) on Monday, replacing him with the Diyarbakır governor temporarily.  Mızraklı was elected on March 31 receiving the 62,9 percent of the votes.

The document shared by Mehmet Emin Aktar, Mızraklı’s lawyer and the former head of Diyarbakır Bar Association, shows that the Diyarbakır governor submitted the request on Apr. 1, when Mızraklı was not officially authorised by the Supreme Election Council (YSK). 

The official document of the ministry was prepared by Muhterem İnce, the deputy minister, but the date was left empty. The document was approved by the Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Aug. 19.

 The Diyarbakır Governor’s request cites several terror related investigations into Mızraklı. The Ministry’s own evaluation accuses Mızraklı of recruiting some people whose contracts were annulled before over terror links and of threatening companies that have provided services during the former appointed mayor's time in office.

Following a coup attempt in 2016, the government also replaced the former HDP co-mayors Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı with a government appointed trustee. The politicians were arrested in 2016 on charges that they had disseminated the propaganda of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting inside Turkey for more than three decades A Turkish court in February sentenced Kışanak to 14 years and three months in prison.