Turkish government sacks three mayors
The Turkish government on Monday dismissed the mayors of the southeastern municipalities of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van and replaced them with state-appointed trustees less than five months after they were elected. The state has accused the Kurdish politicians of having links to the PKK. Is this a legitimate move in the fight against terror or the death blow for what remains of Turkish democracy?
Protect the people from terror
Unfortunately this step was once again necessary, the pro-government daily Sabah counters:
“Since 2016 such tactics have sought to prevent the PKK from obtaining militant, logistic and financial support from municipalities. In other words they are part of the fight against terror, aimed at protecting the region's population from terrorist infiltration. ... By the looks of it, this time the government did not waver and took action as soon as it got wind of connections to the PKK. And in so doing it sent a strong message to other HDP municipalities that they should steer clear of terrorism. At the same time the CHP mayors who won the election thanks to their alliance with the HDP have a democratic responsibility to prevent militant, logistic and financial support from the PKK.”
Democracy and hopes of peace smothered
The mayors' dismissal and replacement by state-appointed trustees heralds the end of Turkish democracy, author Oya Baydar criticises in T24:
“In this region where a single spark can ignite many new flames, this is a putsch - and a provocation. ... Until now the international and Turkish public believed that the fact that elections can be held here - even if they're just a formality and fragmentary - shows that democracy is still alive. Yesterday, however, it became clear that this is nothing but an illusion. And a lie. ... To sum up, the last remains of democracy were laid to rest on August 19, and the last hopes of peace were smothered.”