Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has described how the government is appointing trustees to municipalities in southeastern Turkey.
Soylu made the remarks on May 10 while addressing citizens during a meeting in Istanbul’s Gaziosmanpaşa district.
“I have become the Interior Minister and our President summoned me. He told me, ‘Süleyman, I am bothered by the municipalities of the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), of the (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) PKK in the southeast. Because these get children and take them to mountains. They are sending the state’s taxes to the PKK. And those are coming back to our soldiers as bullets. You will immediately discharge them from duty.’ What I wanted was one eye, Erdoğan gave me two eyes. Two days have passed and at 8 a.m., an operation to all of them; we have discharged all of them from duty,” Soylu said.
Soylu became a parliamentarian for the first time from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2015. In 2016, after the resignation of Efkan Ala, he assumed the post of Interior Minister.
Erdoğan and his government accuse the HDP of having links to the PKK leading to prosecutions of thousands of its members and some leaders. The HDP denies such links.
In the 2019 local elections, the HDP won 65 municipalities in the Kurdish-majority provinces, however, six freshly elected HDP mayors were denied election certificates while 40 were dismissed from duties and replaced by trustees.
In the previous local elections, the HDP’s precursor the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) had won 102 municipalities, 96 of which saw the appointment of trustees.