Bolu municipal council approves mayor's racist proposal against refugees

By a majority of votes, the Bolu municipal council has approved the mayor's proposal that the municipality increases the water bills of foreign nationals by ten times. After a review of the proposal by the municipality's planning and budget commission, it will be discussed at the municipal council once again and voted on.

Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan addresses a meeting of the municipal council on Aug 3.

Duvar English

The municipal council of the western province of Bolu has accepted Mayor Tanju Özcan's proposal that foreign nationals be charged a 10-fold fee for their water bills and solid waste taxes.

The mayor's racist proposal was brought forward to the municipal council, whose 14 members from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party gave a "yes" vote.

Despite the dissenting votes of councilors from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the proposal was accepted and sent to the planning and budget commission. After the commission's review of it, the proposal will be once again discussed at the municipal council and voted on.

Özcan, from the CHP, said during the municipal council meeting that his stance on refugees had not changed. “They [refugees] will go as they have come,” he said.

Özcan's refusal to give permission to those who wanted to take the rostrum has received a reaction from AKP councilors. In response, Özcan threw boxes of tea at them, in a clear reference to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's same action at the disaster-hit areas.

“Do I have to do just like the President to calm you down? Take this tea, drink it, and calm down,” Özcan said, which got the applause of the CHP councilors.

The CHP headquaters had previously released a written statement isolating the party of Özcan's views, saying: "The views of our Bolu mayor Tanju Özcan about foreign nationals concern himself." 

“The prevention of a basic life right such as water, even the discussion of this topic, runs completely against our party's policies. We believe that the Bolu municipality's valuable councilors will not take a contrary decision," the CHP had said on July 27.