Ankara slammed over sacking of mayors

Ekrem Imamoglu (R), the new Mayor of Istanbul from Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) walks with the removed mayor of Diyarbakir, Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli during his visit on August 31, 2019, in Diyarbakir. (AFP)
Updated 31 August 2019

Ankara slammed over sacking of mayors

  • Imamoglu’s visit was the latest sign of warming relations between the CHP and HDP

DIYARBAKIR/TURKEY: Istanbul’s mayor on Saturday hit out at the Turkish government’s ouster of three pro-Kurdish municipality chiefs during a visit to the city of Diyarbakir.

Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who won in the June rerun of the Istanbul vote, called Ankara’s move an act of “carelessness.”

Imamoglu’s visit was the latest sign of warming relations between the CHP and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

The mayors of the eastern cities of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van — all HDP members elected in March — were sacked on Aug. 19 over suspected links to Kurdish militants.

Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli was Diyarbakir mayor before he was replaced by a government-appointed governor.

“There can be neither democracy nor rule of law in a place where elected officials do not leave via the ballot box,” Imamoglu told reporters in Diyarbakir.

He had met with ousted Mardin mayor, Ahmet Turk — a key figure in the Kurdish movement — and Mizrakli, who said Imamoglu’s visit offered “a glimmer of hope and was a source of strength for us.”

His visit to the Kurdish-majority region is significant for the secular CHP, which has not always had easy relations with the HDP.

But since Imamoglu’s election success was significantly supported by the votes of Kurds, as the HDP put forward no candidate in Istanbul, this relationship has improved.

The Istanbul mayor also paid tribute to Tahir Elci, head of the bar association in Diyarbakir and a campaigner for Kurdish rights, during a visit to his grave.

Elci was shot dead during clashes between Kurdish militants and police officers in 2015.

Last May, the CHP’s presidential candidate Muharrem Ince visited the imprisoned ex-HDP chief Selahattin Demirtas ahead of presidential elections in June 2018.

US targets five Iranian officials for blocking election candidates

Updated 42 min 27 sec ago

US targets five Iranian officials for blocking election candidates

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday slapped sanctions on five Iranian officials in charge of vetting candidates for this week's parliamentary elections, in which thousands have been barred from running.
The targeted officials include Ahmad Jannati, a powerful cleric accused of overseeing the disqualification of candidates as part of the Guardian Council. The ultra-conservative also plays a key role in a body that selects the regime's supreme leader.
"The Trump Administration will not tolerate the manipulation of elections to favor the regime's malign agenda, and this action exposes those senior regime officials responsible for preventing the Iranian people from freely choosing their leaders," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.