Turkish governors ban protests after DEM Party’s call against trustee mayors

The pro-Kurdish DEM Party called for mass protests against the appointment of a trustee to Hakkari Municipality and detainment of its mayor. Hakkari and Diyarbakır governors banned protests in provinces instantly.

Hakkari's elected mayor Mehmet Sıddık Akış votes during last local elections.

Duvar English

The Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party on June 3 announced that they would start vigils in front of all municipalities against the appointment of a trustee to Hakkari Municipality and detainment of its co-mayor Mehmet Sıddık Akış.

On June 3, police detained the mayor of Hakkari over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Two months after winning power in local elections with the party's co-mayor Viyan Tekçe, Akış has been replaced by the province’s governor.

Making a statement after the party's Central Executive Committee meeting, party spokesperson Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit said, “Appointing trustees to Hakkari is revenge for the local elections” and called for a united struggle against the trustee system and the usurpation of the people’s will.

The party announced that a large delegation consisting of party co-chairs, lawmakers, and senior party members would be in Hakkari.

Koçyiğit stated, "Dismissals, usurping the will of the people, and fabricating a legal pretext to undermine democracy are among the most heinous crimes committed by this government in this century. All of Turkey is governed by a party that considers itself above the constitution. It holds elections whenever it wants, repeats elections whenever it wants, and appoints trustees to municipalities without elections whenever it wants. However, there is one thing it has not considered: the people will reclaim democracy by force."

The party also announced that the total debt of Hakkari Municipality from the previous trustee was 348 million Turkish liras and underscored, "We all know that the trustee policy has long since failed, leaving behind nothing but a legacy of bribery, corruption, cronyism, and hostility towards Kurds."

The DEM Party won the Hakkari Municipality with 48.92 percent of the votes, defeating the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) candidate, who received 46.58 percent of the votes.

After the 2019 local elections, the Interior Ministry also appointed trustees to the municipalities won by the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the predecessor of the DEM Party.

Hakkari, Diyarbakır governors ban protests

Hakkari Governor’s Office announced that demonstrations and open-air meetings were banned for the next 10 days.

In the statement from the governor's office, it was asserted that "the aim is to prevent actions and attacks that are considered to directly and clearly constitute the restrictions and prohibitions stipulated in the constitution and laws."

Despite the ban, many DEM Party executives, Kurdish politicians, and locals gathered in front of the DEM Party's provincial building in Hakkari. The police prevented the protestors, including lawmakers, to march citing the governor's ban.

Diyarbakır Governor’s Office also announced a 4-day protest ban and targeted the protesters.

"Following the removal of Hakkari Mayor Mehmet Sıddık Akış, it is assessed that sympathizers of the terrorist organization, along with marginal and radical groups, may attempt to carry out illegal actions and activities throughout our province under the guise of protesting. It is considered that these actions and activities could endanger public order and security and potentially incite social conflict,” the governor’s office stated.

It also announced that a travel ban would be imposed for those entering and leaving the province.

Despite the ban, many party executives, Kurdish politicians, and protestors gathered in the province to protest government's attempt to hijack the municipality administration.

In Istanbul, the police attack the protestors who gather in Beyoğlu district's Şişhane Square after the call of DEM Party and detained many participants.