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Dismissed HDP Co-Mayor Özgökçe: Determined to Implement a System in which Women Exist at Every Level

Following appointment of trustees in Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin, dismissed Peoples’ Democratic Party HDP co-mayors, held a press conference announcing their opinion on the matters declaring the trustee appointments as undemocratic, misogynist and resembling coup take-over.

Mardin Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor Ahmet Türk, Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor Dr. Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı and Van Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor Bedia Özgökçe Ertan, who were dismissed and replaced by trustees by the order of the Ministry of Interior, has held a press conference at Taksim Elite World Hotel in Istanbul. Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Group Deputy Chair Saruhan Oluç and HDP Co-Vice Chair responsible for Local Governance Salim Kaplan attended the meeting, firstly Mardin Metropolitan Co-Mayor Ahmet Türk made his statement.

Stating that there was a political coup on the night of August 19, “We are here today with the responsibility of claiming this will. On the morning of August 19, when the trustees were appointed, we saw on the dismissal records that the governors sent a letter to the Ministry of Interior on April 1, 2019. They wanted to create a perception of trustee appointments. We faced an mentality that tries to legitimize this coup. Some slanders and lies were made by declaring someone as an enemy. It has been told that we transferred money to other places.”

“If the status of Istanbul had not been determined, a trustee would have been appointed on April 1”

In the statement, Mardin Metropolitan Co-Mayor Ahmet Türk said: “It was said that the mayor was dismissed for transferring money to other organizations. The debts of all districts were given to the metropolitan municipality. I took over the city with ₺426 million debt. We have just managed to pay for the workers and the officers. There is no penny in the municipality. There are constant accusations that we transfer money to other places. If the status of Istanbul had not been determined, a trustee would have been appointed on April 1. In politics we have supported so far, we were in a struggle for creating a peaceful Turkey. Kurds are seen as a potential danger in today’s politics. This policy is of no use to anyone. Despite all the difficulties, dungeons, detention, we know that this problem will be solved by democratic politics.”

Türk added, “We are worried that if we can not form the state’s mind, polarization will take another path. Those who will prevent this are the ones who believe in democracy… We have to inform the public. What we do is to know clearly the unlawful coup. I have been active in politics for 46 years. I have never been pessimistic about peace and a democratic future. Today, we are in a very painful process. The ones who believe in democracy should take serious and common attitude. I know nothing will be resolved violently, with a gun. This is a maturation process. What we said in the past did not have much value for the Turkish people, today we are trying to ensure peace. Without hope, we would not be in politics. If we share these despite the slanders, it is because we have not lost hope for the future.”

“I REQUESTED AN APPOINTMENT TO ASK THE BILLS FROM THE PRESIDENT”

Claiming that spending 300.000 Turkish Liras, Türk has stated “They are the ones doing laundering themselves. The cost of the municipality is 220.000 Turkish Liras. The food given to the minister is only 200.000 Turkish Liras. I have the bills. Car service was provided worths 332.000 Turkish Lira when the President arrived. All the bills here are from ‘Silver Gold.’ The shop owner’s father is the head of the department in the municipality. The Minister of Interior responded as ‘There is no such thing as receiving expensive gifts,’ they say that they did not eat, but they can not speak today. When 300-500 people visit me per day, I can offer tea as well as chocolate. I have requested an appointment to ask these bills from Mr. President. No response. Someone is trying to maintain their power by declaring someone as an enemy. Turks and Kurds have a thousand-year-old friendship.” He replied that the gift bills are fake. Ahmet Türk continued his speech as follows, “People show their reactions. The media is not independent in Turkey. The cops would not let us take a single step by surrounding us. There is a public who reacts. There is this duty for the ones who believe in democracy. There was a March of Justice. Everyday news states that they are with the separatists. No response received even for this. It needs to enlarge as a whole. Democracy, we need to meet around common values for our rights.”

“WE SUPPORTED DEMOCRACY, NOT THE REPUBLICAN PEOPLE’S PARTY CHP”

“No one should expect from us to sit silently against this unlawfulness. It seems like you struggle to understand us. Our call for the CHP is this, we supported democracy, not the CHP. There is no way to stop this. Workers were employed one day before the election, the day municipality was closed. This is unlawfulness. Governor has established a football club, which is receiving salaries from the municipality. Governor has dismissed 400 people.”

“AN ATTITUDE TARGETING THE WILL OF VOTERS”

Diyarbakır Metropolitan Co-Mayor Dr. Selçuk Mızraklı said, “The situation on August 19 is not an ordinary incident. It is an attitude towards HDP and on the other hand to the local government and will of the voters. Every environment that anxious has to show its attitude and side. It is a pleasure to see our friends against the face of injustice. I do not have details about Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu’s visit. I am going to speak from a different angle that you would not expect. Banalization of evil… As if we are experiencing an ordinary process. Despite democracy in Turkey for 10 days, it was held in the hands of the will of the toxic power operation. This situation was greeted unsympathetically today. We started the duty on April 16, 2019 as persons elected (approved by the Supreme Electoral Council YSK) with the right to vote. We paid the debt, all the transactions we do can be seen from the Ministry of Interior the moment we press the keyboard.”

Mızraklı stated that “Operation is being carried out on 3 centers of gravity of HDP municipality. What am I going to tell our society? With this decision, the state paved the way for the mountain. If the law does not deliver justice then just wow!”

“CO-MAYORSHIP IS INDISPENSABLE FOR US”

Van Metropolitan Mayor Bedia Özgökçe Ertan said, “There is an operation to create a perception for us. We have worked against violence against women. There was special efforts in all areas. After the trustee was appointed, the women’s shelter we established was closed down. The co-mayor system is in our code. There is also a regulation in the law on political parties. It is in our entire organizational structure. It takes its legitimacy from the public reaction. It is highly democratic and strengthens local democracy. The co-mayor system is indispensable for us. We are determined to implement a system in which women exist at every level. We tried to understand the debris from the moment we came for the duty. In 12 municipalities trustees were appointed in Van. We have noticed how the appointed governors do illegal work. No review was made. Despite all the debt.”

“THE PRESIDENT IS DIRECTING THE JUDICIARY”

HDP Co-Spokesperson Saruhan Oluç expressed, “Together with our representatives, we will continue to carry out the right to democratic action. The president is directing the judiciary. We have determined decisively that they can not liquidate HDP by removing the right of privacy. HDP proxies and managers will not abstain from the price no matter what.”

Translated by Atakan Hüyük