DEM Party: Turkish Interior Ministry bans mayors from traveling abroad without court order

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish DEM Party has announced that the Interior Ministry has banned the party’s many co-mayors from traveling abroad without a court order. The party stated that municipalities taken over from trustees are deeply in debt and accused the government of trying to obstruct the elected mayors from seeking international funding sources.

Turkish government appoints a trustee to Hakkari Municipality for the first time after the 2024 local elections.

Duvar English

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party lawmaker Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki on June 24 announced that the Interior Ministry had banned the party’s many newly elected co-mayors from traveling abroad without a court order.

Tiryaki reminded the government's policy of appointing trustees in place of elected Kurdish mayors since the emergency rule in 2016 and stated that the municipalities won by the party in the 2024 elections were taken over with huge debts from this period.

The government has recently appointed a trustee to the DEM Party’s Hakkari Municipality for the first time after the 2024 elections.

Tiryaki emphasized that municipalities taken over from trustees have been struggling with billions in debt, which they would have not been able to repay for years. He added, "For the Justice and Development Party (AKP), there is no limit to malice. Many co-mayors have already been banned from traveling abroad so that they do not seek resources, develop international relations, or build bridges of solidarity between municipalities, given the massive debt burdens."

Tirkayi underlined that the bans on mayors' traveling abroad were not based on a court decision and added, “The ministry has implemented these bans on our co-mayors with a completely arbitrary decision.”

Tirkayi underscored, “It is very clear that this is a state of emergency regime. The state of emergency regime continues permanently.”

Tiryaki noted that municipalities' operational freedom has been restricted under “public saving measures” and that the İlbank has been implementing cuts on DEM Party municipalities that it did not apply under trustee management. 

İlbank is a state-owned development and investment bank providing credits and funds to the municipalities.

He pointed out that the Dicle Electricity Distribution Company (DEDAŞ) company, which supplies electricity to the region, has been now trying to collect debts from the municipalities that it could not collect from the trustees.

"How much longer will you punish our people? Let us generate resources for our municipalities. If you are not going to pay, we will pay off the debts of your thieving trustees. We can do this. Just let the ministry not obstruct us," Tiryaki said.

Dem Party won three metropolitan municipalities, seven provincial municipalities, 65 district municipalities, and 10 town municipalities after the 2024 local elections.