ANKARA (Reuters) - The U.S. Embassy in Ankara said on Sunday it was concerned by reports of clashes in southeastern Turkey, after a government decision to remove mayors in two dozen municipalities on suspicion of links to Kurdish militants.
“We are concerned by reports of clashes in Turkey’s southeast following the government’s decision to remove some elected local officials from office on charges of supporting terrorism, and appoint local trustees in their place,” the embassy said in a statement posted on Twitter.
It said it supported Turkey’s right to defend itself against terrorism but noted the importance of respect for due process and the right to peaceful protest.
“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,” it said.
Turkey appointed new administrators in two dozen municipalities, mostly in the largely Kurdish southeast, on Sunday, as it pursues a campaign against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Nick Tattersall