European socialists condemn Turkey’s purge of elected mayors

The Party of European Socialists (PES) condemned the Turkish government’s “authoritarian purge” of elected officials from opposition parties.

The comments were published on PES’ website after the dismissal of Murat Hazinedar, the elected mayor of Beşiktaş district in Istanbul, last week.

Hazinedar was elected in the 2014 local elections from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

The statement also noted that “since July 2016, more than 100 districts and 10 provincial centres in south-east Turkey have been stripped of their elected mayors, in a purge conducted by President (Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan’s government on the pretext of fighting terrorism.”

The mayors in the southeast were elected from the pro-Kurdish opposition Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP).

Both the CHP and HDP are associate members of PES.

Sergei Stanishev, the current president of PES, said:

The list of anti-democratic outrages perpetrated by Erdoğan’s government grows longer. Replacing elected mayors with government appointees is the latest in a concerted plot to undermine Turkey’s democratic structures and centralise power in the hands of the president, which has also included imprisoning members of parliament, rewriting the country’s constitution and conducting sweeping reforms of the judiciary.

It is now clear that Erdoğan will not stop until he has complete control of local as well as central government. We stand with our associate member parties CHP and HDP in opposing this latest measure in the strongest terms, and we call for immediate elections in affected areas so that the Turkish people can once again be governed by the people they elected.