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Turkey removes 4 more mayors from office on terrorism allegations

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Turkey’s Interior Ministry has removed from office three mayors from the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and one from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over allegations of terrorism, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

In the southeastern province of Muş, Bulanık district mayor Adnan Topçu, Varto district mayor Ülkü Karaaslan and Erentepe mayor Dilaver Kesik were removed from office on Wednesday on accusations of spreading the propaganda of a terrorist organization, namely the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In the western province of İzmir, Urla district mayor İbrahim Burak Oğuz, who was arrested on Tuesday due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, was also removed by the ministry. He is accused of membership in a terrorist organization.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

All four mayors were elected in nationwide polls on March 31.

The controversial practice of removing and arresting mayors was also widely implemented during Turkey’s two-year-long state of emergency following the attempted coup in 2016.

In August Turkey first removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, three metropolitan cities won by the HDP. Some 30 HDP mayors have been removed from their posts since then, while Oğuz is the first CHP mayor to have been removed since the March 31 elections.

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