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Erdoğan threatens opposition candidates, says holding on to criminal records

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated his threats against mayoral candidates from opposition parties on Thursday, saying the government is holding on to criminal records for action against some of them after the elections on March 31.

Claiming that some candidates involved in terrorist activities are running for office during an election rally in Ankara, Erdoğan said, “We are keeping their GBT [General Information Collection] for now, and we will take steps depending on the election results.” 

Targeting a candidate in southeastern Mardin province without mentioning a name, Erdoğan said the government cannot wait three to five years to take action on this candidate’s alleged terrorist links, referring to the standard four-year time in office for a mayor.

Turkey has dismissed a number of elected mayors in the Kurdish-majority Southeast over the last few years on allegations of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

In addition, Erdoğan’s ruling party claims that the opposition candidate for Ankara, Mansur Yavaş, is not fit for office due to corruption allegations against him that have not yet been substantiated.

Erdoğan stated several times that Yavaş cannot serve even if he is elected on March 31.

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