2 Kurdish mayors challenge Interior Ministry’s expulsion decision in court

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Two out of three mayors in southeastern Turkey who were recently expelled from office by Turkey’s Interior Ministry on the grounds that they have links to terrorism have challenged the ministry’s decision at an administrative court demanding a stay of execution, according to Turkish media reports.

The mayors of the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van — all members of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) elected in March — were removed on Aug. 19 over alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Former Diyarbakır Mayor Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı and former Mardin Mayor Ahmet Türk filed cases at the administrative courts in Diyarbakır and Mardin, respectively, demanding a stay of execution and their reinstatement to their posts.

The former mayors said in petitions submitted to the courts that they were removed from office even though there was not even an ongoing investigation into them in relation to their positions.

If the local administrative courts do not rule in favor of the former mayors, they plan to go to regional administrative courts and then to the Council of State in order to be reinstated to their posts, according to their lawyers.

Since their removal from office, there have been protests in the Kurdish-majority region, often blocked by police using force including water cannon.

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.

The mayors describe the allegations as baseless.

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