Xenophobic Turkish mayor Tanju Özcan takes down nameplate of refugee youth foundation

Tanju Özcan, the xenophobic mayor of Turkey’s Bolu province, has removed the nameplate of the "Social, Cultural, and Cooperation Foundation of Bolu’s Afghan Youth" from the building. Özcan was recently accepted back into the main opposition CHP as part of the party’s centennial pardon. 

Duvar English

The mayor of Turkey’s central Bolu province Tanju Özcan on Dec. 12 removed the nameplate of a local refugee’s youth foundation from its building and said he was against “these people” gathering. 

Özcan, from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), went to the “Social, Cultural, and Cooperation Foundation of Bolu’s Afghan Youth” building and called in a team from the municipal police to remove the nameplate. 

The police took down the nameplate while no one was present in the foundation building. 

Özcan shared a video about the event on his social media account. In it, he said that he would never allow Arabic nameplates in the province. However, the nameplate in question was in Turkish. 

“I am against these people gathering,” added the Mayor and asserted that no one could put up nameplates without the approval of the Municipality. 

“I will not allow for the nameplates to remain no matter who allowed them,” said Özcan, although the nameplates of foundations and civil society organizations are subject to approval by the governor.

Özcan, known for his staunch anti-immigrant stance was expelled from the CHP for inappropriate behavior. He recently returned to the party as part of its centennial pardon and promised a fresh start.

Özcan had also drawn criticism in 2021 with his xenophobic policy proposals against the Syrian refugees residing in Bolu.