Anders KNAPE, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, made the following statement:
"I express my grave concern about the decision of the Turkish authorities to suspend the elected mayors of three metropolitan cities in the south-east of the country, namely Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van, and to replace them with governors.
These mayors were elected as a result of the free and fair expression of the will of the Turkish people during the local elections held on 31 March 2019, which were observed by the Congress.
In the past, the Congress expressed its concern about the excessive use of legal proceedings against local elected representatives in Turkey and their replacement by appointed officials. This practice seriously undermines the proper functioning of local democracy.