HDP mayors write to European mayors about trustees
The dismissed mayors said: "We acknowledge this decision as a government coup -- the last one in a chain of attacks of the Erdogan regime in recent years against pluralist democracy, against the Kurdish democratic will in particular."
The three HDP mayors dismissed by the AKP political coup on 19 August, wrote a letter to mayors in Europe about the situation of the cities of Amed, Van and Mardin, after the appointment of trustees and the dismissal of the legitimate mayors.
Amed co-mayor Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı, Mardin co-mayor Ahmet Türk and Van co-mayor Bedia Özgökçe Ertan said in their letter: "We are writing to you as elected co-mayors, respectively, of the metropolitan municipalities of Mardin, Diyarbakır and Van. These three major Kurdish provinces in Turkey, which host a total of 3.8 million citizens, are among the political and electoral strongholds of our party, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
In the municipal elections of 31 March 2019, we won the seat of the mayor in these provinces with high margins; 56.24% in Mardin, 62.93% in Diyarbakır, and 53.83% in Van. On 19 August 2019, we were removed from our offices, replaced by government-appointed trustees, and saw our municipal councils disbanded with an arbitrary decision of the Interior Ministry that violates both the Turkish Constitution and the European Charter of Local Self Government to which Turkey is a signatory."
The mayors continued: "We acknowledge this decision as a government coup -- the last one in a chain of attacks of the Erdogan regime in recent years against pluralist democracy, against the Kurdish democratic will in particular."
The letter goes on: "As you know, the right to vote and the right to public office are among the pillars of democracy. Those who are elected by the people can be deposed only by the people themselves. The Kurdish constituency in Mr Erdogan’s Turkey has been de facto disenfranchised by the repetitive liquidation and punishment of their popular will and representatives. As we are writing this letter to you, the government is extending its repressive grip on the Kurdish people in Diyarbakır, Van, and Mardin who protest the expropriation of their democratic will."
The mayors ended their letter as follows: "We feel empowered, when we hear voices of solidarity from across the borders. Carrying our dignified struggle against tyranny, we would be most obliged to receive your sustained solidarity through initiatives such as organizing public opinion in your country, putting democratic pressure on the Turkish government, building solidarity networks, or visiting our electoral provinces. We promise to you that no matter how dire the circumstances currently are in our country, we will win the struggle for democracy, justice, and peace."