Government-appointed trustee dissolves Van City Council

Mehmet Emin Bilmez, appointed by Turkey’s Interior Ministry as a trustee in place of the mayor of Van, who was removed by the government from office, ordered the dissolution of the city council on Wednesday, the Diken news website reported.

The Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had 44 delegates on the council, while the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had 27. They were elected on March 31.

The duties of the council will be assumed by the municipal board, the report said.

The ministry removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van for alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK),

Nine employees of the Van Municipality were detained by police on Wednesday on allegations of terrorism.

Speaking to the press during a protest in Diyarbakir against Ankara’s controversial move, Sezai Temelli, a co-chair of the HDP, urged the people to resist the replacement of Kurdish mayors by raising their voices.

“We will be in plain sight every day and speaking out. We’ll continue to shout with the voice of the truth against them. The HDP will not be silenced,” he said.

Meanwhile Ayhan Bilgen, the co-mayor of Kars from the HDP, announced on Tuesday that he had been summoned by a prosecutor to testify in a case filed against him for terrorist links.  (SCF with turkishminute.com and IPA News)

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