[UPDATE] Turkey removes 5 more Kurdish mayors, totaling 45 since local elections

A girl flashes the victory sign as holding a flag bearing the logo of Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) as Turkish Kurds gather during Newroz celebrations for the new year in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey, on March 21, 2018. Newroz (also known as Nawroz or Nowruz) is an ancient Persian festival, which is also celebrated by Kurdish people, marking the first day of spring, which falls on March 21. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

Turkey’s interior ministry on Friday removed five mayors from the Kurdish opposition party, Turkish media reported, bringing the total number of suspended Kurdish mayors to 45, according to the Mezopotamya news agency.

Siirt Mayor Berivan Helen Işık, Iğdır Mayor Yaşar Akkuş and mayors from two districts of Siirt province, Ramazan Sarsılmaz and Baran Akgül, and one district mayor from Muş province, Casim Budak, were also detained by police as part of a terrorism-related investigation.

“This morning, the Iğdır, Siirt, Kurtalan and Baykan municipalities were seized [by the government]. The regime once again showed its enmity towards the people and the people’s will,” the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) tweeted on Friday.

Since the local elections in March 2019, 45 out of 65 mayors from the HDP have been removed, while six mayors were not authorized by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) despite winning the popular vote.

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