- Title: Police disperse protesters in Diyarbakir as Turkey replaces three Kurdish mayors
- Date: 19th August 2019
- Summary: DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY (AUGUST 19, 2019) (AUGUST 19, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** PROTESTERS STAGING A SIT IN PROTEST OUTSIDE DIYARBAKIR CITY HALL AND CLAPPING HANDS VARIOUS OF RIOT POLICE JOSTLING PROTESTERS TO DISPERSE THE CROWD RIOT POLICE OFFICERS POLICE OFFICERS DRAGGING WOMEN STAGING SIT IN PROTEST VARIOUS OF POLICE OFFICERS SHOVING PROTESTERS PROTESTERS BEING DISPERSED INJURED PROTESTER SHOUTING AT POLICE VARIOUS OF WATER BEING SPRAYED ON PROTESTERS EXTERIOR OF DIYARBAKIR CITY HALL ENTRANCE OF CITY HALL AS SEEN THROUGH POLICE FENCES GOVERNMENT-APPOINTED MAYOR OF DIYARBAKIR, HASAN GUZELOGLU ARRIVING TO MAKE A STATEMENT CAMERAMEN FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) GOVERNMENT-APPOINTED MAYOR OF DIYARBAKIR, HASAN GUZELOGLU, SAYING: "There is no doubt, the rights of all personnel will be protected and each of them will continue to do their job except for those who are linked to the terrorist organisations. Legal and administrative steps will be taken for those who are deemed to have connections (to PKK)." VAN, TURKEY (AUGUST 19, 2019) (AUGUST 19, 2019) (REUTERS) ENTRANCE OF VAN CITY HALL VARIOUS OF WATER CANNON DEPLOYED OUTSIDE THE CITY HALL (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) GOVERNMENT-APPOINTED MAYOR OF VAN, MEHMET EMIN BILMEZ, SAYING: "She (Mayor of Van, Bedia Ozgokce Ertan) was removed due to legal probes. She was notified of the decision today. I, the governor of Van, was appointed as the (new) mayor of Van with the same decision published by the interior ministry today."
- Embargoed: 2nd September 2019 11:53
- Keywords: Turkey pro-Kurdish mayors replaced terror probe pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party HDP
- Location: DIYARBAKIR, VAN, TURKEY
- City: DIYARBAKIR, VAN, TURKEY
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001ASVU0CN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Riot police fired water cannon at a small group of protesters in Diyarbakir on Monday (August 19) after Turkey replaced Kurdish mayors with state officials in three cities and detained more than 400 people for suspected militant links.
Police shoved and jostled protesters staging a sit in protest after the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) announced plans to make a statement about the mayors' dismissal.
Meanwhile, police sealed off the municipality headquarters in Diyarbakir with metal barriers, as riot police were deployed outside along with water cannon vehicles.
President Tayyip Erdogan had warned ahead of nationwide local elections in March of such a move against elected officials if they were found to have had connections to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The mayors in Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van, major cities in the mainly Kurdish southeast, were accused of various crimes including membership of a terrorist organisation and spreading terrorist group propaganda, the ministry statement said.
The Interior Ministry said the PKK had been seeking to exploit the March elections to boost its support and had exerted efforts to nominate candidates who would be easily led once elected.
Police detained 418 people in 29 provinces in a related investigation targeting suspects with links to the outlawed PKK group, the ministry added.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), to which the three mayors belong, said they had been dismissed "on an order based on lies and illegal justifications".
The removal of the mayors echoed the dismissal of dozens of mayors in 2016 over similar accusations, part of a purge that began after a failed coup. Nearly 100 mayors and thousands of party members were jailed in a crackdown that drew expressions of concern from the United States and European Union.
(Production: Umit Ozdal)
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