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Turkish ministry removes 15th Kurdish mayor from office since local elections

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Nilüfer Elik Yılmaz, the mayor of a district in Turkey’s Mardin province, has become the 15th Kurdish mayor to be removed from office by the Interior Ministry since the March local elections, Turkish media reported.

The ministry on Monday appointed Hüseyin Çam, the Kızıltepe district governor, as government trustee for the Kızıltepe district mayoral office.

According to a statement issued by the Mardin Governor’s Office, Yılmaz is currently standing trial on charges of membership in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist organization that has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey’s Southeast.

The municipality’s official Twitter account posted a video showing Yılmaz being prevented from entering the municipal building by a police officer enforcing the Interior Ministry decision.

In August, five months after the local elections, the ministry began to remove Kurdish mayors based on terrorism charges, starting with Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van.

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