30 mayors in Sweden issue a call for Kışanak and Anlı
30 mayors in Sweden wrote an open letter to the Turkish government and demanded they respect fundamental principles of law and release Kışanak, Anlı and all arrested municipality administrators.
Mass protests were held in several residential areas in Sweden against the arrest of Amed Co-mayors Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı and 30 mayors wrote an open letter to the Turkish government to demand they respect fundamental principles of law and release Kışanak, Anlı and all arrested municipality administrators.
The letter signed by 30 mayors from Social Democrat Workers' Party also criticizes Sweden, the European Union and the international community for not reacting clearly enough to human rights violations and violations of the freedom of press and expression in Turkey.
The mayors point out that, following the appointment of trustees to some Kurdish municipalities in September and the arrest of 28 municipality administrators, Amed Municipality’s Co-mayors Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı were arrested, and that the Turkish government is arresting journalists and human rights activists as well as mayors.
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO SPEAK UP
The mayors underlined that the government not only arrested dissidents and human rights defenders, but also committed serious violations of freedom of press and expression, shut down several news agencies, television networks and daily newspapers, and arrested some defense lawyers, and continued:
“Under these circumstances in Turkey where the fundamental freedom of expression and freedom of press is under pressure and very serious developments take place, Sweden, the European Union and the international community has a responsibility to refuse to reconcile or condone the events. The Turkish government must respect human rights, the independence of institutions and municipalities, and the fundamental principals of the rule of law.
Prominent politicians elected by popular vote like Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı being prevented from carrying out their duties is a threat against democracy. We as mayors in different Swedish residential areas and politicians elected by the people wish to show solidarity with our colleagues in prisons.”
ALL MAYORS IN PRISONS SHOULD BE RELEASED
The mayors state that they are protesting the arrest of politicians elected by the people and their colleagues and list their demands as:
“Diyarbakır Municipality’s Co-mayors Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı must be released immediately.
All mayors in prisons must be released immediately and resume their duties as the elected representatives of the people.
The Turkish government must stop arresting opposition politicians, journalists, lawyers and human rights activists.”
TURKEY MUST BE PRESSURED
The mayors also demand Sweden, the European Union and the United Nations to pressure Turkey to release imprisoned municipality administrators and to respect fundamental democratic principles and the freedom of press and expression.
The signatories state that as Social Democrat mayors, solidarity with their counterparts in Turkey is very important to them, and underline that under circumstances where their colleagues are imprisoned and silenced, those living outside of the borders of Turkey speaking up for them is important.
THE VIOLATIONS AFFECT US TOO
The letter is signed by 30 province and district mayors from all over Sweden. Avesta Mayor Lars Isacsson who had taken the lead for the letter to be written said that the human rights violations and the violations on the freedom of expression had reached unbearable levels and they were also affected by the violations themselves:
“There are many citizens in Avesta with a Kurdish background. On Thursday, 20 people demanded a meeting with me. They told me about the developments in Turkey and Kurdistan, and that the mayors were arrested in Diyarbakır. A Social Democrat Party MP was also present at the meeting. After meeting with my friends here, we decided to write a letter in solidarity with our colleagues in Turkey.”
Isacsson said they knew similar demands were rising from other residential areas as well, so they thought it would be more effective to take a Sweden-wide stance and added: “30 of our Kurdish colleagues are in prison as of now. Because of this, we 30 mayors have written a joint letter. Tomorrow morning [today] we will send the letter to the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm and all written and visual media.”
Isacsson said they were concerned and surprised at the violations of the freedom of press and expression and the arrests of their colleagues, and said the following when we asked if the Swedish government showed enough reaction to the developments:
IT WILL ENTER THE PARLIAMENT’S AGENDA
“The government can do so much more. One colleague who is an Avesta MP will take this issue to the Parliament’s agenda and demand the Foreign Minister to take initiative. We will also discuss such matters in the Social Democrat Workers Party congress to be held in the beginning of next year. We will demand the Swedish government take initiative to end the war and reinstate the peace talks.”
WE WON’T BE SILENT
Isacsson’s message to their imprisoned colleagues is loud and clear: “What you go through affects us living here as well. We will not be silent in the face of the freedom of expression and the fundamental values of democracy are trampled and people are arrested. The Turkish government must know that we won’t stay silent in the face of politicians, journalists and our colleagues being arrested.”