Maria Arena: The decision to dismissal elected mayors is clear attempt to further undermine the local democratic structure of Turkey

Statement by Maria Arena, the chair of European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights:

“Ignoring the will of the people is unacceptable”, said Maria Arena (S&D, BE), after the Turkish authorities recent decision to replace legitimately elected mayors.

“I am dismayed by the recent Turkish police operation against HDP representatives in south-east Turkey. The decision to replace the legitimately elected mayors of Diyarbakir, Van and Mardin over terrorism-related investigations is disturbing. I express my full solidary with Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı, Ahmet Türk, and Bedia Özgökçe Ertan, who were elected by overwhelming majorities in the 31 March 2019 local elections.

The European Parliament has repeatedly expressed its concerns over mayors and deputy mayors in this region being dismissed, arrested or replaced by appointed trustees of the central governement. As a result, a large part of Turkey’s population is no longer democratically represented at the local level.

This development is a clear attempt to further undermine the local democratic structure of Turkey. The full adherence to the principle of direct democratic mandates and preserving Kurdish democratic expression is in the interest of the Turkish central authorities and Turkish citizens.”

23 August 2019