Bios of Ahmet Türk, Bedia Özgökçe and Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı

Bios of the purged HDP co-mayors:

Ahmet Türk, Co-Mayor of Mardin Metropolitan Municipality

At the age of 77, AhmetTürk is a veteran of Kurdish people's struggles for human rights, justice, and democracy in Turkey for the past half a century. A native of the Mardin province, Mr Türk was first elected to the Parliament in 1973. After the military coup of 1980, he was imprisoned in the infamous Diyarbakir Military Prison where was subjected to systematic torture under isolation. In 1987, he was once again elected to the Parliament from the center-of-the left Republican People's Party (CHP). In 1989, Mr.Türk, along with several Kurdish MPs from the CHP ranks, was dismissed from the Party, when its Kemalist leadership interpreted their participation in an international Kurdish conference organized in Paris, France, as "separatism." This was a landmark event in the political biography of both Mr Türk and the trajectory of the Kurdish struggle in Turkey, which led to the foundation of Turkey's first legal pro-Kurdish political party, namely People's Labour Party (HEP), over the following year. In 1990, Mr Türk was among the eighteen Kurdish lawmakers elected from the HEP list. When the Constitutional Court indicted HEP for closure, Mr Türk acted as a co-founder of its successor the Democracy Party (DEP). In 1994, DEP was closed down on charges of separatism and Mr Türk was de-immunized and imprisoned along with a dozen other Kurdish MPs. Following his release, he continued his leading role in the development of Kurdish legal-political opposition in Turkey, acting as a founder of each and every Kurdish political party established in the legacy of HEP tradition and shut down by the political establishment in Turkey. Mr Türk’s unrelenting commitment to developing a space for democratic struggle and peace in Turkey has earned him the standing respect of not only his fellow Kurds but also other persecuted and marginalized communities, such as the Armenian and Assyrian peoples of Turkey.

Ahmet Türk was elected the Mayor of Mardin Metropolitan Municipality in 2014 by a large margin.Following the failed coup of 15 July 2016, he was removed from the Office by an Emergency Government Decree. His Office remained usurped by an Interior Ministry appointed trustee until the local elections of 31 March 2019, whichhe re-won by a landslide 56,4%. On August 2019, Mr.Türk was removed from the Office once again, and replaced by the centrally appointed Governor of Mardin –a gesture that we deem to be deliberately reminiscent of colonial governorship practices. Today as ever before, Mr.Türkstands as the inspirational grey-hair of our struggle for democracy, peace, and justice in Turkey.

Bedia Özgökçe, Co-Mayor of Van Metropolitan Municipality

Ms BediaÖzgökçe was born in Van province in 1975. Following her graduation from law school, Ms Özgökçe took a leading role in the foundation of the Human Rights Association Van Branch. For over a decade as of mid-1990, she focused in her practice as a human rights lawyer on issues related to the rights of refugees, torture prevention, and identity-based discrimination. In the general elections of November 2016 and June 2018, Mr Özgökçe was elected as an MP for Van from the ranks Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). In the run-up to 31 March 2016 local elections, Ms.Özgökçe resigned from her Parliamentary mandate to run for co-mayorship of Van Metropolitan Municipality. She won over 53% of the votes and became first female mayor of Van Municipality.

Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı, Co-Mayor of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality

Mr Adnan SelçukMızraklı was born in the province of Şanlıurfa and has been carrying out his professional and human rights practice in Diyarbakır as a medical doctor since 1992. Since the 1990s, Mr Mızraklı served at the executive board of the Diyarbakır Medical Chamber at different capacities, including branch chairmanship over 2008 and 2010. He is a founding member of the Diyarbakır-based Association for Struggle Against Poverty, SARMASIK, and a member of the Human Rights Association Diyarbakir Branch. In the general elections of June 2018, Mr Mızraklı was elected as an HDP MP for Diyarbakır. In the run-up to 31 March 2016 local elections, Mr Mızraklı resigned from his Parliamentary mandate to run for co-mayorship of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality. He assumed the Office bya landslide 62.93%.

23 August 2019