Government Attacks on HDP municipalities since 31 March 2019 local elections

Information note by HDP Committee on Democratic Local Governments:

The HDP representatives that have won the popular vote on 31 March local elections and HDP municipalities have since been subjected to unremitting attacks by the central government and state institutions. Some of the arbitrary and unlawful practices that have targeted our representatives, and virtually always with the conventional “terrorism” charge, have been as follows:

Dozens of representatives elected to mayor’s office were denied their certificates of election.

Of these, Co-Mayor of Bağlar District (Diyarbakır) Mr Zeyyat Ceylan, Çaldıran District (Van) Co-Mayor of Dis Ms Leyla Atsak, Edremit District (Van) Co-Mayor Ms. Gülcan Kaçmaz Sağyiğit, Tuşba (Van) Co-Mayor  Mr. Yılmaz Berki, Tekman  District (Erzurum) Co-Mayor Mr. Muzahit Karakuş and Dağpınar  District (Kars) Co-Mayor Mr. Abubekir Erkmen were denied their certificates on the grounds that they had been previously dismissed from public office with emergency government decrees. In their stead, certificates were granted to candidates who had lost the ballot.

The certificates of election have been denied also to the following elected representatives, with the excuse that had previously been dismissed from public office with emergency government decrees: Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor Ms. Hülya Alökmen Uyanık, Yenişehir District  (Diyarbakır) Co-Mayor  Mr. İbrahim Çiçek, Kayapınar District (Diyarbakır) Co-Mayor Mr. Necati Pirinççioğlu, Hakkari Provincial Co-Mayor Ms. Seher Kadiroğlu Ataş, Kızıltepe  District (Mardin) Co-Mayor Mr. Salih Kuday, Savur District (Mardin) Co-Mayor Mr. Mehmet Yasin Kalkan, Siirt Provincial Co-Mayor  Mr. Resul Kaçar, Erciş District (Van) Co-Mayor Mr. Mahmut Pala.

The following municipal council representatives have also been denied their election certificates:

Ağrı Taşlıçay Municipality Council Member Mr. Fecri Aydın;

Ağrı Doğubayazıt Provincial Council Member Mr. Sabri Karayel;

Batman Municipality Council Members Mr. Ahmet Yılmaz, Mr. Erkan Kaygusuz, Mr. Mustafa Yurtsever, Mr. Reşat Akıncı, Mr. Abdulmecit Çeken and Mr. Ahmet Aslan;

Bitlis Tatvan Municipal Council Members Mr. Saffetullah Akyüz and Mr. Veysi Altıntaş;

Diyarbakır Yenişehir Municipality Council Member Mr. Ramazan Akkoç;

Diyarbakır Kayapınar Municipality Council Members  Ms. Neriman Baran Yiğit, Ms. Amber Ceylan Ak, Mr. Mehmet Vecih Aydoğan, Ms.  Dilan Yakut, Mr. Eser Özbek, Mr.  Ali İhsan Karahan, Mr. Yusuf Gezer and Mr. Süleyman Okur;

Diyarbakır Bağlar Municipal Council Members Ms. Hava Karahancı, Ms. Şükran Şimşek, Ms. Derya Berktaş Açmaz, Ms. Sevgi Süer, Mr. Abdulkadir Önen and Mr. Aziz Turay;

Diyarbakır Dicle Municipality Council Member Ms. Songül Can Şimşek;

Diyarbakır Sur Municipality Council Member Ms. Berivan Savaş Apaçık;

Diyarbakır Ergani Municipal Council Members Mr. Müslüm Öcay and Mr. Erdal Tekdemir;

Hakkari Yüksekova Provincial Council Members  Deniz Öztekin and Mr. Ferhat Özdil;

Iğdır Municipality Council Member Mr. Yılmaz Hun, Mardin Kızıltepe Municipality Council Members Mr. Şeyhmus Akbaba and Mr. Mehmet Ali Çiçek;

Mardin Derik Municipality Council Member Mr. Mehmet Gezici;

Muş Varto Municipality Council Member Mr. Hakkı Bingöl;

Siirt Municipality Council Member Ms. Fatma Kayar;

Siirt Kurtalan Municipality Council Member Mr. Ercan Başar;

Şanlıurfa Bozova Municipality Council Member Mr.  Müslüm Kuşçu;

Şanlıurfa Suruç Municipality Council Members Mr.  Reşat Demirkol and Mr. Osman Kaya;

Şanlıurfa Viranşehir Municipality Council Member  Mr. Abdulcelil Çelebi;

Şırnak Provincial Council Member Mr. Selahattin Barınç;

Şırnak Cizre Municipality Council Member Mr. Dündar Yağarcık;

Van İpekyolu Municipality Council Members Mr. Salih Kara, Ms. Mesude Demir and Ms. Sibel Harman Tertemiz.

Dozens of our co-mayors or council members were dismissed from office following criminal verdicts hastened after their election, including:

Erzurum Karayazı Municipality Co-Mayor Ms. Melike Göksü;

Dersim Provincial Council member Mithat Kaya;

Patnos Municipal Council Member Mehmet Şahin Savcı;

Kayapınar Municipal Council member Adnan Akgül;

Co-spokesperson of the Çaldıran Municipal Council Faruk Demir;

Co-spokesperson of the Edremit Municipal Council Medeni Özer; and,

Tatvan Municipal Council Members Ms. Serap Çakmak Genç, Mr. Suat Yetişkin, Mr.  Diyar Orak, Mr. Ahmet Sağnıç, Mr. İsa Taş, Mr. Şükrü Aydemir, Mr. Mehmet Nedim Türemiş, Mr. Çetin Yılmaz and Mr. Selami Karahan who were removed from their offices as an interim measure. 

Dozens of our representatives have confronted police and judiciary harassment in the form of arbitrary house raids and detentions across Kurdish towns.  

For instance, on July 11, in the Karayazı district (Erzurum), ten elected representatives, including district co-mayor Mr. Burhanettin Şahin were detained following coordinates house raids. One of the local HDP executives, Nuri Kandemir, was reportedly tortured in the presence of his family, and the former council member Erdem Kaya was reportedly threatened with a gun put to his head during the raid of their houses. The representatives were kept in detention for a week without an indictment.

In other  incidents that took place on various dates, Nusaybin Municipality Co-Mayor Mr. Ferhat Kut,  Bismil Municipality Co-Mayor Ms. Gülşen Özer, Bitlis Provincial Council Member Medeni Yalçınkaya, Nusaybin Municipal Council Member Ms. Samiye Demir, Bağlar Municipality Council Member Ms. Nursel Örmek, Kurtalan District Municipality Council Member A. Gaffur Kubilay, and Şanlıurfa Ceylanpınar District Council Member Ms. Dilan Ablay were detained.

The government’s campaign of violence and intimidation against HDP municipalities has also involved tactics of smear and disreputation. On August 9, Narcotics and Anti-smuggling teams sieged and broke into the building of Diyabakır Kayapınar Municipality following a piece of alleged intelligence information regarding the use of drugs. The whole building was searched for hours, revealing no evidence of the alleged charge.

HDP Committee on Democratic Local Governments
August 10, 2019