Turkish interior minister says dismissal of opposition mayors is out of question

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Sunday said that removal the opposition mayors of Istanbul and Ankara was out of the question, pro-government daily Hürriyet reported.

The mayors of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van provinces were dismissed on Aug. 19 and replaced with government-appointed officials just months after being elected to office in March.

The government says the mayors are linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group that has fought the Turkish state for over three decades.

In his earlier statements, Soylu indicated a potential suspension of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul mayor, Ekrem İmamoğlu after he showed solidarity with ousted mayors of Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

The HDP mayors were dismissed for their links to terrorism and suspension of Istanbul and Ankara mayors is out of the question since there are no such ties for those municipalities, Turkish interior minister said.

The rumours of dismissal of CHP mayors are spread by terrorism supporters who aim to water down ousting of HDP mayors in the frame of Turkey's counter-terrorism efforts, Soylu said.