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Turkish government dismisses 7 opposition assembly members in Kurdish region

The move leaves the provincial council in the hands of authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party

ATTACKS on opposition parties in Turkey continued to escalate today as seven members of the 14-strong Mus provincial assembly were dismissed on the orders of the government.

Most of those dismissed were from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). No reason was given for their removal following instructions from the Ministry of the Interior.

The move leaves the provincial council in Turkey’s largely Kurdish south-east in the hands of authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its fascist coalition partner the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Local HDP MP Sevin Coskun warned that the attack was a “continuation of the political coup” that saw the removal of elected HDP mayors from the largely Kurdish municipalities of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van last month.

“The AKP-MHP alliance, which was defeated in the Istanbul elections of March 31 and June 23, has started to attack our party. Trustees have been appointed to three of our municipalities. 

“Our people are expressing their reactions against this political coup everywhere they are,” she said.

Ms Coskun said the dismissals of those “elected with the votes of our people” were unlawful and vowed to continue the fight against these attacks to the end.

Fears are growing that Mr Erdogan is planning to shut the HDP down entirely as revenge for his party’s humiliating defeat in the rerun Istanbul mayoral election in June.

His handpicked candidate, former prime minister Binali Yildirim, lost by around 800,000 votes to Republican People’s Party candidate Ekrem Imamoglu.

The HDP did not stand a candidate in the election, instead calling on its supporters to back Mr Imamoglu to inflict “a blow against the fascism” of the AKP-MHP partnership.

It is suspected that the state is behind a mobilisation at the HDP offices in Diyarbakir, where a sit-in protest is continuing over claims that the party has “kidnapped” people and sent them to join the banned Kurdistan Workers Party in Iraq’s Qandil mountains. 

Police are collecting people, taking them in vehicles to the protests and providing food and drinks to those gathered there. Right-wing newspapers are also encouraging readers to join the demonstrations.

Sources told the Star that one of the mothers among the protesters had stormed the offices on Sunday and tried to attack HDP officials with a knife, before being restrained.

Similar sit-down protests by HDP members and supporters protesting at the removal of elected mayors have received a violent response from the state, with hundreds of people arrested and scores hospitalised.

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