The latest crackdown by Turkish authorities has provoked anger and clashes in the south eastern city of Diyarbakir.
Some 28 local and regional mayors from across the country have been suspended on suspicion of assisting parties or groups deemed terrorist organisations.
Within the group, 24 are alleged to have links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party – or PKK – and four with the Fethullahist Terror Organisation – FETO – which has been accused of staging the July 2016 failed coup attempt.
New trustee mayors have now been put in place, “to protect the democratic constitutional state,” according to Justice Minister, Bekir Bozdağ.
He tweeted a statement, reading:
“If mayors and council members finance terror by transferring money, which is sent for serving the public, to terror organisations and allow the usage of municipal vehicles, equipment and facilities for the terror organisation’s attacks, they lose their democratic legitimacy.”
The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) reacted angrily.
“Such an unlawful regulation which disregarded the voters’ will and deactivated elected local administrators and councils is null and void for us,” the party said.
It said the new appointments directly contradict international conventions and laws.
HDP MP Nihat Akdogan added:
“Accepting this, for people to accept this, is impossible. We reject it. People’s mayors are here. It is not possible for anyone other than these people to be appointed as mayors with just government signatures. We condemn this implementation.”
At least 12 suspects are already under arrest, according to local media.
A government statement said the group had been suspended as part of a recent decree law under the state of emergency, which has been in effect since the unsuccessful efforts to overthrow the government.