Turkey Accuses US of ‘encouraging’ Terror in Statement on Suspension of Mayors

suleymanTurkey has accused the United States of meddling in its internal affairs and inciting terror after the US Embassy in Ankara published a statement reacting to Turkey’s suspension of 28 mayors on Sunday and urging authorities to respect the rule of law and individual rights.

“Such irresponsible statements only encourage terror,” said Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Monday during an Eid event. “No one has the right to do that. Especially the envoys of countries we define as friends and allies do not have the right to make evaluations on this issue. Describing Turkey in such a way is a great unfairness for our country and nation. It is a statement that includes an element of incitement.”

In their statement, published on the embassy’s website on Monday, the US said it supported Turkey’s right to defend itself, but “As Turkish authorities investigate allegations that some local officials have participated in or provided material support to terrorist groups, we note the importance of respect for judicial due process and individual rights, including the right of peaceful political expression, as enshrined in the Turkish Constitution.  We hope that any appointment of trustees will be temporary and that local citizens will soon be permitted to choose new local officials in accordance with Turkish law.”

Soylu said he was “saddened” by the statement, “We see it as an intervention into Turkey’s domestic affairs and find such an evaluation unacceptable.”

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also condemned the Americans’ statement, saying that it was unacceptable to “give Turkey a democracy lesson,” when speaking to reporters in Istanbul after Eid prayers.

Ankara has accused 28 municipal leaders of using government funds to support terrorist groups. The majority of those suspended were alleged to have ties with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and a few with the Gulen movement.

The suspensions were done using powers given to Ankara under the state of emergency imposed after the failed coup of July 15.

The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) condemned the suspensions as violating the constitution and international agreements Turkey is a party to.

“Ignoring the voters’ will, rendering local administrators ineffective, this unlawful regulation is null and void for us,” HDP said in a statement published on its website Sunday.

“This unlawful arbitrary attitude will do nothing but intensify existing issues, causing the Kurdish issues to become unresolvable to further degrees,” the party warned.

The PKK has denied that they received any funds from municipal governments, said Murat Karayilan, a member of the PKK’s Executive Committee, adding that Kurds would not accept the mayors’ removal, ANF, a media outlet close to the PKK, reported.