Three Kurdish mayors sacked by the Turkish government this month over alleged links to militants on Thursday lambasted a “political putsch” they vowed to challenge in court, AFP reported.
The mayors of the eastern cities — all members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) elected in March — were removed on Aug. 19 over alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The sacking of the Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van mayors — Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı, Ahmet Türk and Bedia Özgökçe Ertan, respectively — came after they had won strong majorities.
Since their removal there have been protests in the Kurdish-majority region, often blocked by police using force including water cannon.
“We were deprived of the opportunity to serve the people by the political putsch on August 19,” said Türk, the deposed Mardin mayor and a key figure in the Kurdish movement.
“It’s a political decision aimed at preventing the Kurdish people’s struggle for democracy, to intimidate the people and to block our efforts to bring about change in Turkey,” he added.
Ertan said the HDP was going to “exhaust all legal channels” to challenge the sackings.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week defended the decision accusing the mayors of serving “terrorists instead of the public.”
The Interior Ministry said there had been complaints against the three of providing financial support to the PKK.
The PKK is banned as a terrorist organization by Ankara and its Western allies.
Türk said the allegations were “baseless.”