August 31, 2019
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.
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.