The Sur municipality office is surrounded by security barriers, following the removal of the local mayor from office after he was deemed to support Kurdish militants, in Diyarbakir, Turkey, September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar

(Reuters) Turkey has removed local mayors deemed to support Kurdish militants and appointed new administrators in two dozen municipalities mostly in the largely Kurdish southeast, a provincial governor’s office said on Sunday.

The 24 municipalities were run by local associates of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest party in the national parliament, the Diyarbakir governor’s office said.

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that the campaign against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, which has waged a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy, was Turkey’s largest ever and that the removal of civil servants linked to them was a key part of the fight.

The crackdown comes as Ankara also pushes ahead with a purge of tens of thousands of supporters of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Turkey of orchestrating an attempted coup in July. Gulen denies any involvement.

The mayors of four other municipalities, three from the ruling AK Party and one from the nationalist MHP opposition, were also removed on Sunday over alleged links to Gulen.

Erdogan and the government view the HDP as an extension of the Kurdish PKK militant group. The HDP denies direct links and says it promotes a negotiated settlement to the insurgency.

There were internet and phone outages in several areas across the southeast on Sunday, local residents said, although the reason was not immediately clear.

On Friday, police detained dozens of people and used water cannon to disperse several hundred teachers demonstrating against their suspension from classrooms in the main regional city of Diyarbakir.

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More than 40,000 people, most of them Kurds, have died since the PKK launched its insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984. The PKK is regarded as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

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TC Jin Ds
TC Jin Ds
2016-09-11 11:34

those f*****g cia agents in turkey being cleaned up. thats nice for whole middleeast

Yunus Can
Yunus Can
2016-09-11 11:46
Reply to  TC Jin Ds

What drugs do you take?

Stern Daler
Master
Commenter
Upvoted
Stern Daler
2016-09-11 20:26
Reply to  Yunus Can

They must be strong an good. I wonder whether Turkey will survive if they all take that stuff.

TC Jin Ds
TC Jin Ds
2016-09-11 13:17
Reply to  TC Jin Ds

it calls reality you traitor

Stern Daler
Master
Commenter
Upvoted
Stern Daler
2016-09-11 20:33
Reply to  TC Jin Ds

Turks are a minority in Anatolia. Go to Türkmenistan where You are the majority and where You have come from.

Bahcivan
Bahcivan
2016-09-11 11:51

A step towards more political turmoil in this lovely country which will end up in a real chaos. It’s a pity!

Tomas Monteiro
Tomas Monteiro
2016-09-11 16:15

Melhor seria se levassem o chefe da traição erdogan