Bekir Polat, mayor of the Sarıcan sub-district of the eastern Anatolian province of Elazığ, was removed from office by the Interior Ministry on June 24, the latest in a series of removals of elected officials by Turkish authorities, local media reported, citing an official statement from the Elazığ Governor’s Office.
Polat, like other mayors removed from office, is a member of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Erkan Kaçmaz, the deputy governor of Elazığ, was appointed by the Interior Ministry to replace Polat.
Polat was detained on June 23 by the police on charges of membership in a terrorist organization together with Canan Tağtekin, the co-mayor of Sarıcan, and another HDP supporter, as part of an investigation carried out by the Elazığ Public Prosecutor’s Office.
On May 15 four mayors from HDP were removed from office by the Interior Ministry, bringing the total number of suspended Kurdish mayors to 44.
Since the local elections in March 2019, 45 out of 65 mayors from the HDP have been removed, while six mayors were denied the mandate to govern by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) although they won the municipal elections. The HDP currently has 12 mayors.