Vecdi Erbay / DUVAR
A number of male members of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) seek the removal of the first female provincial head of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır from her post just because she is a woman.
A petition was launched to sack Gönül Özel, the CHP's first female provincial head in Diyarbakır, with the demand to hold an extraordinary congress.
The petition was submitted to the provincial organization and was sent to the CHP headquarters in Ankara for party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to decide.
Özel, who made headlines when she became the CHP's first female Diyarbakır provincial head in February, said that her opponents are openly sexist.
"Diyarbakır is a political city, it can't stomach a woman leader. She is not fit for the job," they said in the petition.
According to Özel, one of the signatories said, "We will sack her and I will be the provincial head."
"I don't want to give the name of this person, but he also used racist remarks, such as 'There should be a provincial head from Diyarbakır,'" Özel told Duvar on Dec. 9.
Saying that she has been trying to represent her party in the best possible way, Özel noted that the petition campaign was launched two weeks ago.
"We still don't know why they want me removed. I didn't do anything wrong, I didn't steal anything. Our main goal is to find solutions to people's problems. The person who does it best should be in this post," she said.
"This is an effort by those who see the party as their own company," Özel said, stressing that she will continue to work for the party no matter what the party leadership decides to do.
According to Özel, the petition is related to the CHP's successful works in the province. She also said that she spoke on the phone with Kılıçdaroğlu during the petition process and that he gave his full support to her.
The women's branch of the Confederation of Public Employees' Unions (KESK), meanwhile, visited Özel to show their solidarity and slammed the sexist remarks in the petition.
Özel told Duvar that the visit was very meaningful for her.
"They gave the message that they stand united with us. I thank them and say, 'Where there is woman, there is hope.'"