Bolu Municipality forces worker to resign for sharing Demirtaş's photo

The Bolu Municipality has forced a cleaning worker to resign after she shared a photo of jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş on social media.

This file photo shows Selahattin Demirtaş.

Ahin Aslan / DUVAR

The municipality of the northwestern province of Bolu, run by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), forced a cleaning worker into resignation after she shared a photo of jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş.

Mahire Yentür who has been working in Bolu Municipality for the last two years, shared a photo of Demirtaş on social media. A screenshot of Yentür's post was taken and sent to a local internet newspaper named "Bolu'nun Sesi."

In a news report on Feb. 24, the newspaper wrote that Yentürk's post was a proof of Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan's support for pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The news report also claimed that Yentür was constantly making propaganda for the HDP and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Yentür talked about the pressure she was subjected to by other municipality employees. “When I first saw the news report, I was at the municipality, I fainted and opened my eyes in the hospital. Later, I was branded as a terrorist among my colleagues. A photo post destroyed me,” she said. 

“People around me said, ‘It would be better if you leave your job.’ I had to resign so that my family and relatives would not be harmed. I have nothing to do with HDP, I do not have a membership. I tried to express myself but no one listened to me. All my friends turned against me. I can't go outside,” she said. 

HDP Deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu reacted to the incident on Twitter.

"Mahire Yentür is a cleaning worker, a Kurdish citizen. The Bolu Municipality dismissed her from her post. Is it her fault, sharing Selahattin Demirtaş's photo? Mahire Yentür's letter is below. Not only was she fired, she also experienced social exclusion! Our ears are open to anyone who wants to answer,” Gergerlioğlu said in a tweet and shared Yentür’s letter.

Demirtaş has been in prison since 2016. He faces hundreds of years in prison on charges related to the PKK - designated a terrorist organization by Ankara - despite a previous European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that he was imprisoned on political grounds and should be released immediately.

(English version by Alperen Şen)