The Turkish government on Aug. 19 fired three democratically elected mayors from key cities in the mainly Kurdish southeast. The metropolitan mayors of the Kurds’ informal capital, Diyarbakir, along with those of Mardin and Van were removed from office and replaced with government-appointed governors. The Interior Ministry cited active cases of “spreading propaganda” and links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) against the mayors who were elected with comfortable majorities in the March 31 local elections on the ticket of the Kurd-friendly and left-leaning Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
The mayors were additionally accused of diverting funds to the PKK. Over 400 others were detained on similar charges as security forces swarmed municipality headquarters in separate raids.