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Turkey unseats nine HDP councilors in Kurdish city

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Turkey’s Interior Ministry has removed nine city council members from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the Tatvan district of eastern Bitlis province, the T24 news website reported on Tuesday.

The action was taken at the request of the Bitlis Governor’s Office. The council members are under investigation over alleged terrorism links.

As a result of the removals, the HDP’s presence on the council is reduced to five members, meaning the loss of the majority the Kurdish party had won in the local elections of March 31.

The mayor of Tatvan, Mehmet Emin Geylani, was elected from the ranks of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Speaking to the press Geylani denied having any prior knowledge of the decision.

The HDP is frequently accused by AKP circles of being aligned with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Its former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ have been jailed since November 2016.

Before the local elections, the Interior Ministry had removed dozens of HDP mayors, replacing them with government-appointed trustees.

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