MHP’s Bahçeli backs Hakkari trustee as ‘displaying power of nation’

Turkey’s government ally MHP’s leader Devlet Bahçeli has addressed the trustee appointment to the Hakkari municipality, attacking the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party for allegedly conspiring with the PKK.

Duvar English

Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), on June 11 defended the ousting of Hakkari’s elected mayor for alleged ties with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

Bahçeli suggested that the removal of Hakkari’s mayor from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party was within the legal framework.

His sentencing to 19 years and six months for leading an armed terrorist organization and subsequent arrest “upheld the honor of the Turkish state and legal system,” Bahçeli said. 

The party leader attacked DEM Party, stating that it did not serve the local people, but aided and abetted “terrorist propaganda.” 

He continued, “In nearly all DEM Party-led municipalities, parallel administration and the influence of PKK’s so-called commissioners prevail.”

Bahçeli also found those who opposed the trustee practice, “turning a blind eye to treason is not democracy, and opposing trustee appointments is not democratic,” the party leader held. 

Bahçeli criticized those who stir public unrest by linking trustee appointments to demagoguery, labeling them as immoral individuals who threaten the state's sovereignty and legal security. 

He highlighted a statement by DEM Party’s Mardin deputy accusing the government of imposing colonial laws on Kurdistan and the Kurdish people. 

According to Bahçeli, the presence of such deputies in the parliament was only possible “due to the nation’s patience and their fortunate circumstances.” 

He reiterated that there is no such place as Kurdistan in Turkey and called for an end to tolerating these deputies’ betrayal, advocating for the immediate lifting of their immunity and their accountability before justice. He stressed that neither DEM Party nor PKK has any connection with the “brothers and sisters of Kurdish origin.” 

Tülay Hatimoğulları, co-chair of the DEM Party, responded harshly to Bahçeli’s remarks during her parliamentary group speech.

She stated that the current actions supported by Bahçeli implied that Kurds have no right to vote or be elected and that they are not “genuine citizens” of Turkey.

She accused the government of labeling the Kurdish people and their democratic allies as national security threats. She argued that the rhetoric of brotherhood and solidarity with Kurds was nothing but a “tiresome charade.”

Hatimoğulları noted that the people and shopkeepers of Hakkari opposed the trusteeship, viewing it as an unjust imposition on the populace. She highlighted the widespread resistance from Hakkari to Istanbul, with the people standing firm in defense of their local authority.

Hatimoğulları displays a photo depicting the police repression during the trustee protests in Hakkari.

Hatimoğulları brought up the moment when police surrounded DEM Party members and civilian protestors while they were making a press statement in front of the trustee-appointed governor’s office in Hakkari.

“Not just police but also military forces were deployed on the streets of Hakkari by the government, which contradicts their stance against coups,” noted the co-chair. 

She emphasized that history would remember this scene, where the military supported what she termed a political coup in Hakkari.