Transparency expected in ousted mayors' investigations - Turkish bar association

The Union of Turkish Bar Associations said on Thursday that the cases of mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van who were ousted by the government this week should be resolved in a timely and transparent manner, secularist daily Cumhuriyet reported.

The Turkish government on Monday dismissed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Van, and Mardin - all elected in March for the predominantly Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) - over alleged terror links, replacing them with appointees.

"Dismissal is a temporary measure. For this reason, it is expected that the investigations said to have been launched into those concerned will be concluded as soon as possible and the whole process will be managed most transparently," the statement said.

On Tuesday, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said the mayors had been removed as they had used municipal resources to support the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought an armed campaign for self-rule in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984.

In 2017, the central government replaced more than 80 elected local officials representing the pro-Kurdish opposition HDP with appointed administrators, accusing them of links to the PKK, as part of a widespread crackdown following a failed coup in 2016.

The HDP regained most of the municipal posts that they had been ousted from in this year’s local elections on March 31, despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's repeated warnings that any candidate deemed to be affiliated with the PKK would be replaced by Ankara.