At the request of Turkey’s Social Security Institution (SGK), the bank accounts of the Tunceli (Dersim) Municipality have been frozen due to heavy indebtedness to the SGK, according to Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu, the country’s only communist mayor, the Evrensel daily reported.
The report said the municipality owes more than TL 10 million ($1.7 million) in social security contributions.
Maçoğlu said half of the debt was inherited from the previous administration, which was led by a government-appointed trustee.
Among the frozen accounts is the municipality’s payroll account, due to which city staff could not be paid this month.
The mayor called the action “unlawful,” saying that according to the law on municipalities, payroll accounts cannot be frozen and that only 40 percent of the municipal budget can be frozen.
The Turkish government has removed more than 30 opposition mayors since local elections in March, and some observers believe that it has created problems for other cities by reducing their budgets.