The administrators of 5 villages in Bitlis’s Adilcevaz distrist were dismissed from their posts after their constituency voted for No in the Apr 16 presidential referendum.

In the run up to the referendum, Arif Kahraman, the district governor of Bitlis’s Adilcevaz distrist was reported to have threatened village headmen to vote Yes in the upcoming presidential referendum underlining they would be dismissed otherwise. Kahraman reportedly told village heads that no municipal service will be provided to the regions where No votes overweigh Yes votes on April 16 referendum. The head of Esenköy village, Hüdeyda Koçak quoted Kahraman as saying: “I may seize your seals, too,” in an apparent hint at possible dismissals.

According to Karinca online news portal, the headmen in Gümüşova, Esenkıyı, Aşağı Süphan, Altyazı and İpekçayır villages have been recently summoned to police station in Adilcevaz district and told that they were dismissed at the district governor’s request.

In a parliamentary question to the Interior Ministry, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democractic Party (HDP) Deputy Mizgin Irgat asked whether Karaman is entitled sack village heads.

Irgat said the village heads were dismissed as part of an investigation launched three years ago. “Why no action was taken against them until now?”

A constitutional amendment that gives more power to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was approved by a slight majority on April 16, although debates over alleged voting irregularities have yet to ease. The opposition and international observers say as many as 2.5 million voters could have been “manipulated,” effectively changing the result.