Ousted mayor of Batman detained as part of terror investigation

Batman Mayor

Mehmet Demir, ousted mayor of the southeastern city of Batman, was detained by the police yesterday as part of a terrorism-related investigation.

Demir was previously detained on March 23, 2020, and was ousted from his post by the ministry of interior with the pretext that he was being investigated for membership in a terrorist organization, dissemination of terrorist propaganda and inciting animosity among society.

In the local elections of March 31, 2019, Demir was elected mayor of the predominantly Kurdish city of Batman after garnering 66 percent of the vote. The HDP won 65 municipalities in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern regions in the local elections. But due to the decisions of Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Board (YSK) in six cases and the Interior Ministry, more than 50 have been removed from office or not allowed to assume office.

In an opinion published on June 19, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe (CoE) found the YSK decisions to be inconsistent with international norms and standards and called for their reversal. Similarly, the commission also called for the repeal of the Ministry of Interior’s decisions to replace elected mayors with government officials because “[they] undermine the very nature of local self-government.”

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