Turkey's election council reinstates DEM candidate's mayorship in Van

Turkey's Supreme Election Council (YSK) reinstated pro-Kurdish DEM Party's Van elected-mayor Abdullah Zeydan's mayorship status in eastern Van province after his status was revoked by the local electoral board and presented to the AKP's candidate in the second place.

Duvar English

The Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) on April 3 reinstated the mayorship of Abdullah Zeydan of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party, who was denied the mayor's license by the local electoral board despite winning the elections in Van by a large margin.

Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki, DEM Party representative to the YSK, announced that the council has cancelled the decision of Van Provincial Electoral Board and decided to give the mayor's license to Zeydan.

YSK discussed the DEM Party's rejection against the local electoral board's decision and accepted it with seven against four votes.

Tiryaki noted that the decisions of the YSK are final and there is no possibility of any objection.

YSK's decisions are also not subject to the Constitutional Court's (AYM) review; hence, Zeydan would be given his license since there is no other authority to appeal to, Tirkayi underscored.

The DEM Party's stated on X, "As a result of the resistance of the Kurdish people, our friends, and the democratic public, it has been decided that our Van Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor Abdullah Zeydan will be given his license. Her Bijî Berxwedana Gelê Kurd (Long live the resistance of the Kurdish people)!"

On April 2, the province's election board decided that the candidate of Justice and Development Party (AKP), the second-place finisher who took 27.2 percent of the votes in the city, should be handed the mandate due to a legal issue with Zeydan's candidacy.

Zeydan won the Van metropolitan municipality with co-candidate Neslihan Şedal by an overwhelming 55.48 percent of the votes.

Tens of thousands of people have been protesting against government's efforts to hijack elections in Van despite severe police attacks with tear gas and water cannons.

After the announcement of the YSK's decisions, thousands of people rushed to the DEM Party's provincial building to celebrate.

Erdoğan: 'We do not disrespect will of people, but...'

President and AKP Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a speech at the iftar program with members of the police, gendarmerie, and coast guard and targeted protestors in Kurdish provinces as "provocateurs" and "terrorists."

"We do not disrespect the will and appreciation of the people in any way, but we will not and cannot allow the terrorist barons in Qandil to harass our citizens with oppression under different masks, to attack the peace and tranquility of our cities, to lend the nation's means to the terrorists in the mountains, and to make our people relive the pains of the past," Erdoğan said.

"Just as we do not tolerate bandits in the mountains, we will not tolerate city bandits who regard themselves as superior to the state and the law," he added.

President Erdoğan once again equated the DEM Party with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the same discourse that the government has used in order to appoint trustees to Kurdish mayors after 2019 elections.

"In the face of such attempts, we will not hesitate to do what is required by the rule of law and what our democracy requires. We expect all political actors to respect the rule of law. We do not see the fight against terrorism as independent from democratization and democratization as independent from the economy. We believe that successes in all these areas develop and support each other," he added.

On the other hand, the comment from the ruling AKP shared by Deputy Chair and Head of Political and Legal Affairs Hayati Yazıcı, in a post on his X account.

He described the events as a "state of insanity" and stated, "The state of insanity that emerged on April 1 regarding the mayoral election in Van province ended with the right decision of the Supreme Elections Council. I sincerely congratulate the Supreme Council and honorable members."

He later deleted the tweet.

The deleted tweet by Yazıcı.