The İpekyolu municipality of the eastern province of Van, which is run by a trustee appointed by the government, has instructed its employees to attend ceremonies that will mark the fourth year anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Turkey each year commemorates the anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt around the country with various ceremonies. In Van, the ceremonies are being prepared by the Van governor and district governors, some of whom have replaced democratically elected mayors from pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
Although attendance to these July 15, 2016 coup ceremonies is optional, the İpekyolu municipality's human resources department said in a notice sent to all employees that it required them to partake in these ceremonies.
In the past years also, the Van governor and trustees are known to have sent notices to the personnel, requiring them to attend election rallies of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other activities of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Those who did not attend these events were later subjected to an internal investigation.
Muazzez Orhan, a HDP deputy representing Van, slammed the notice sent by the İpekyolu municipality trustee, saying that this move shows the “AKP's oppressive mentality.”
“The notices sent to the personnel in Van shows the real mentality of the trustee, the AKP's oppressive mentality,” Orhan said, adding that calling on people to attend such ceremonies amid the novel coronavirus outbreak "poses a threat for public health."
Since March 2019 local elections, mayors have been replaced by trustees in more than half of the roughly 65 municipalities won by the HDP. Ankara has appointed governors and other local authorities as trustees in those districts.