By Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak
ANKARA (AA) – In the struggle for democracy, the Turkish state was bound to take action against municipalities that supported terrorism and their leaders, said Turkey’s vice president on Monday.
“Judicial and administrative investigations determined that municipal funds [in three cities] were being used in favor of a bloody terrorist organization, and necessary actions have been taken,” said Fuat Oktay on Twitter.
“The will of the nation can never be left under the hand of terror,” he added.
Early Monday, the mayors of the southeastern Turkish cities of Diyarbakir and Mardin and the eastern city of Van -- Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli, Ahmet Turk and Bedia Ozgokce Ertan, respectively -- were suspended from office for supporting terrorism, with the provincial governors taking the helm of the cities in their place.
The mayors are facing accusation of involvement in crimes such as establishing or spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization or terror group membership.
All three mayors are from the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), a party Turkey's government has accused of having links to the PKK terror group.
The state-appointed governors of the provinces have temporarily replaced the suspended mayors.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.