Van co-mayors receive official license after gov’t hijacking attempt

Van co-mayors Abdullah Zeydan and Neslihan Şedal from the pro-Kurdish DEM Party received their official mayoral license after the Supreme Election Council (YSK) overruled the local election board’s decision to present mayorship to the ruling AKP’s candidate.

Duvar English

Van Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayors Abdullah Zeydan and Neslihan Şedal from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party on April 5 received their official licenses from the provincial election board.

DEM Party Van deputies; DEM Party, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and Regional Democratic Party (DBP) provincial and district executives, district co-mayors, and Peace Mothers also came to the Van Courthouse where the co-mayors received their mayoral license.

In the meantime, a large number of police officers were deployed around the courthouse and many police vehicles were brought around the building.

Speaking first, co-mayor Şedal said, "We have been struggling for centuries to re-establish equality, justice, freedom, and collective conscience in this society. We have been struggling with the same idea in local governments for a long time."

She then thanked all political groups and Van people who have been supporting their struggle to regain the mayorship after the elections.

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 Şedal by an overwhelming 55.48 percent of the votes.

Zeydan said, "We went through a process in which law and justice were suspended for a short period of time. We would like to thank everyone who took a stand in favor of democracy, law, and justice, especially the people of Van who embraced their will. YSK’s decision has further strengthened the will for the rule of law, the establishment of justice, social peace, and a life of togetherness and dignity in our country.”

On April 3, the Supreme Election Council (YSK) overruled the local electoral board’s decision and reinstated Zeydan’s mayorship.

“Our geography no longer needs conflict and lawlessness. We all have a responsibility to establish social peace and a dignified life together,” Zeydan underscored.

Tens of thousands of people have been protesting in Van despite police brutality. Dozens of people have been detained, several others were arrested, and some were hospitalized due to police violence around the southeastern provinces inhabited mainly by Kurds.