In reaction to the suspensions of our co-mayors, the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Anders Knape, issued a statement and expressed his concern regarding the ongoing undermining of local self-government in the Turkey. In his statement Knape said the following:
Even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit Turkey very hard, we have been receiving reports about ongoing suspensions of elected mayors in communities in the south-east of the country and their replacement by state-appointed trustees. As a consequence, a significant number of municipalities concerned are currently run by state appointees and not by those who were elected on 31 March 2019. As I have said on similar occasions before, the excessive use of legal proceedings against local elected representatives and their replacement by state-appointed officials is not only an affront to those who stand up for free and fair elections, it is also a serious and permanent threat to the proper functioning of local democracy in Turkey.
In hindsight of the 2019 local elections, the Congress requested a legal opinion of the Council of Europe Venice Commission on a number of decisions regarding elected candidates and mayors taken after this vote in the south-east of Turkey and we are waiting with a great interest for this opinion to be published.
19 May 2020