Mustafa Yaman, who for the second time has been appointed by the Turkish government as a trustee to replace the mayor of Mardin in southeastern Turkey, in 2017 and 2018 used municipal funds to buy gifts worth TL 582,618 ($100,000) for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and cabinet ministers, Deutsche Welle Turkish Service reported on Sunday.
DW has accessed files related to the municipal spending that occurred during Yaman’s first term as a government-appointed trustee in Mardin that include bills for jewelry purchased from a silversmith called Fırat Silver.
Fırat Silver employees contacted by DW declined to comment, while officials at the Mardin Municipality and high-ranking ruling party members were not available.
Yaman also held lavish dinner parties and rented luxury cars on the occasion of visits from ministers and bureaucrats.
He was first appointed as a trustee by the Interior Ministry, which had decided to remove elected Kurdish Mayor Ahmet Türk in November 2016.
Türk was elected as mayor again in the countrywide local elections on March 31, only to be replaced again by Yaman on Aug. 19. The mayors of two other Kurdish cities were also removed on the same day.
The Turkish government claims the appointment of trustees is a counterterrorism measure and that the elected mayors have been funneling municipal funds to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).