Turkey faces protests over Hakkari mayoral takeover by gov’t

The protests against the Turkish government's decision to appoint a trustee to Hakkari Municipality and detain DEM Party’s co-mayor Mehmet Sıddık Akış grew despite preventions. The police encircled DEM lawmakers and Kurdish politicians who launched a vigil in front of the municipality building.

Dem Party executives and other Kurdish politicians organize vigil from night to morning.

Duvar English

Turkey has been facing growing protests after the government removed the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party mayor Mehmet Sıddık Akış from Hakkari Municipality and appointed the province’s governor as a trustee. 

On June 4, DEM Party Co-Chair Tülay Hatimoğulları, Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Co-Chairs Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar, and Keskin Bayındır, leftists Labour and Free Alliance members, regional bar associations and civil society organizations came to eastern Hakkari province.

DEM Party executives and locals protest trustee appointment in the province.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) delegation consisting of deputy chair Zeliha Aksaz Şahbaz, party spokesperson Deniz Yücel, and lawmakers also arrived in the city.

Hakkari Governor on July 3 announced a 10-day ban on demonstrations and events in the province immediately after the trustee decision. The police did not allow the demonstration in front of the municipality building On July 3 evening, citing the ban.

The municipality building is surrounded by police barriers.

The police encircled DBP Co-Chairs, DEM Deputy Co-Chair Rüştü Tiryaki, Van lawmaker Gülcan Kaçmaz Sayyiğit and Zülküf Uçar, Hakkari deputies Öznur Bartın and Onur Düşünmez, Şırnak MPs Zeki İrmez and Nevroz Uysal who has been waiting in front of the building. Journalists have not been allowed to enter the area.

Despite the preventions, many participants have continued to protest the government's attempt to hijack the municipality administration like it did after the 2019 local elections.

Following the bans first in Hakkari and then in Diyarbakır provinces, all demonstrations were banned in Van, Bitlis, Mardin, Siirt, Şırnak, Ağrı, Muş and Batman provinces.

All these provinces are inhabited especially by Kurds and are strongholds of the DEM party.

DEM Party stages protest at parliament 

DEM Party Parliamentary Group, protesting the appointment of a trustee, organized a demonstration at the rostrum. The lawmakers will continue their protests at the Parliament until the night hours.

DEM Party Hakkari MP Vezir Parlak took the floor during the motion to investigate the damages caused by the trustees.

After Parlak ended his speech, lawmakers took the floor together. The party members started the protest with banners reading “Municipalities are ours, we will not allow usurpation.”

The police also attacked the protest organized with the call of the DEM Party in front of the parliament

Lawyer organizations meet at Istanbul courthouse 

Eight lawyer organizations met at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse for a statement against the trustee appointment. 

A large number of police officers blockaded the courthouse. About 50 lawyers left the courthouse and marched to the square in front of the courthouse with Kurdish slogans.

Lawyer organizations meet at the Çağlayan Courthouse.

Human Rights Association (İHD) chair Eren Keskin also reacted against the Istanbul Bar Association in her statement in the square. 

“Some 28 bar associations came together and took a stance against this trustee politics. We wish the Istanbul Bar Association had also stood against this injustice. We condemn the Istanbul Bar Association for this reason,” she said.

In its separate press statement, the Union of Turkish Bar Associations also emphasized that Akış should be reinstated and said, "The dismissal of the mayor is an immeasurable interference with the right to elect and be elected, which is the basis of democracy."

TTB also joined the press statement organized by 28 bar associations in Hakkari.