Bolu mayor defends forcing worker to resign for sharing Demirtaş's photo

Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan has defended forcing a cleaning worker to resign after she shared a photo of jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş on social media. Özcan has also filed a criminal complaint against pro-Kurdish HDP deputies and journalists who made statements about the incident.

Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan is seen in this file photo

Duvar English

The mayor of the northwestern province of Bolu, Tanju Özcan, has defended the dismissal of a cleaner of the municipality for sharing a photo of a pro-Kurdish politician and said he filed criminal complaints against lawmakers and journalists who made statements regarding the cleaner.

Özcan, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on March 14 said he filed criminal complaints against opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu and Ali Kenanoğlu, HDP executive Cesim Soylu and journalists Kemal Özkiraz, Veli Saçılık and Hilal Nesrin for their statements about Mahire Yentür, a cleaning worker dismissed from the Bolu Municipality for sharing a photo of jailed former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.

Özcan said the complaint was made on charges of “inciting hatred and enmity,” “praising crime and the criminal,” and “insulting and threatening a public official due to his duty,” at a press conference on March 14. 

Earlier, it was revealed that the Bolu Municipality forced Yentür into resignation after she shared a photo of the jailed Kurdish politician on social media.

Upon this, HDP deputy Gergerlioğlu shared Yentür’s letter and harshly criticized the municipality’s action. 

"My entire political life has been spent fighting the HDP and its derivative sub-identity nationalist parties. I am a politician who has repeatedly stated that the HDP is a racist party and that it never represents our citizens of Kurdish origin as the fundamental elements of the Turkish nation,” Özcan, who has previously and several times been accused of racism towards refugees, said.

Regarding Yentür's resignation, Özcan said, “The systematic attacks and targeting of me by HDP politicians continues with increasing intensity. The reason why our staffer was dismissed is that they make political posts at work and on social media, despite being warned many times. Emphasizing that the municipality provides public service, employees were warned not to share in favor of or against any political party.”

Özcan has been stirring controversy with the measures he has been introducing to keep foreigners out of Bolu. According to some of the measures, not only will foreigners have to pay 100,000 Turkish Liras if they want to get married in the city, but they will have to pay their water bills in dollars.

Later a Turkish court halted both the measures.