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Protests Continue on Third Day after Dismissal of Elected HDP Co-Mayors

Two days after Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin metropolitan co-mayors elected under Peoples’ Democratic Party HDP have been dismissed to be replaced by governors that were appointed as trustees in their stead, protests continue to rock Turkey. Hundreds across the country have been detained as calls for protest grow. Government representatives announced that the mayors were dismissed due to links to terrorist organizations, however not following legal procedure but directly issuing dismissal orders. Criticism from within AKP can be heard due to police’s harsh treatment of protestors.

Ministry of Interior published the reasoning for dismissal of elected HDP co-mayors on its website in Kurdish as well. Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın announced “there is no dismissal order for mayors that are not linked to terrorist organizations and not aiding & abetting them; there is no such issue for Istanbul and Ankara.” Although not clarifying hundreds of other municipalities held by opposition parties.

HDP co-chair Sezai Temelli visited Human Rights Association Diyarbakır branch, Diyarbakır Chamber of Commerce, Diyarbakır Bar Association, calling for joint struggle against appointment of trustees.

THREE METROPOLISES UNDER TENSION

All roads leading up to Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality have been blocked by police barricade and water cannons have been stationed. All citizens passing through blocked areas are being subjected to ID controls at check points. HDP deputies, co-mayors and members who attempted to hold a press manifestation in front of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality, started a sit-in under police siege. Dismissed HDP co-mayor of Diyarbakır, Dr. Selçuk Mızraklı said “within law there is the mechanism of objection; we will file our objections in the conscience of the people.” HDP municipal councillor for Diyarbakır’s Kayapınar, Adnan Akgül has been dismissed and Kayapınar Governorship chief editor Mehmet Zülküf Güler has been appointed as trustee to occupy the municipal seat. Police intervention in Diyarbakır targeted people marching to the Ofis district, in protest of dismissal of elected co-mayors and appointment of trustees. Police intervention continued in Diyarbakır against HDP members at Anıt Park; initially 3 were detained through beating. During police intervention in Diyarbakır, HDP deputy Remziye Tosun fainted. Over 10 were beaten & detained; journalists were beaten during intervention. HDP Siirt deputy Meral Danış Beştaş announced in front of a Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality public bus “on day one they are using the people’s vehicles as detention buses instead of servicing the people.”

Following appointment of trustee mayor in Van, all municipal directors have been dismissed and scores of municipal employees have been detained with house raids. An order of secrecy and lawyer ban have been declared. Appointed trustee mayor of Van Metropolitan Municipality, Van Governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez abolished the municipal council and declared it with a letter to elected councillors, announcing “your responsibilities and duties will be held by the provincial commission from now.” Police intervened in anti-trustee appointment protest in Van, also beating the people caught up in a cafe. HDP deputy Muazzez Orhan shared video footage of police taking someone in custody after heavily beating him with the note “this is AKP’s tyranny; of course you will pay for it.” AKP deputy Mustafa Yeneroğlu criticized police violence during intervention against protests following dismissal of elected HDP co-mayors in Van, “those who permit this tyranny shall be dismissed immediately and all will be done to bring them to justice.”

Following appointment trustee mayor in Van Metropolitan Municipality, 3 auditors who are members of Lawyers for Liberty Association have resigned from their posts at Van Water & Sewage Works General Directorate.

Dismissed co-mayor of Mardin Ahmet Türk has had an argument with the police officers who blocked the road leading to Mardin Metropolitan Municipality. Türk asked “why is the municipal council not allowed to go to the municipality?” HDP co-chair Temelli gave a speech in Mardin, after which the crowd started marching to HDP headquarters despite police pressure. There was short lived quarrel between deputies and police but crowd reached the party headquarters.

GOVERNORSHIPS DECLARE PROTEST BAN

Mersin Governorship banned the press manifestation against dismissal of elected HDP mayors at 6 pm on Peace Square. The press conference was held at DISK union local headquarters; CHP local chair announced disturbance felt through dismissals. Police intervened in protest in Mersin that was to be held against appointment of trustees instead of elected HDP co-mayors in Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin.

Muş Governorship banned all protests, rallies, distribution of flyers, putting up banners, and all kinds of other activist actions until September 4.

Protest took place in Muğla’s touristic city Bodrum against appointment of trustee mayors instead of elected HDP co-mayors; during the press manifestation police intervened, detaining at least 15. Police intervened harshly against protest in Muğla’s touristic city Datça on Republic Square; 21 have been detained.

Video footage of police shooting rubber bullets from short distance against protestors in Istanbul’s Kadıköy in August 20’s protest revealed.

Izmir Bar Association opened a court case against protest ban declared by Izmir Governorship. Human Rights Association Adana branch opened court case against Adana Governorship’s ban on protests in the city requesting cancellation of the ban.

OPPOSITION CRITICISM SPREADS

IYI Party spokesperson Yavuz Ağıralioğlu, “it is solely the government’s responsibility to explain how certain people have first been given clearance to participate in elections, won and were given the mandate only to be dismissed 4 months later.”

Saadet Party chair Karamollaoğlu reacted against dismissal of elected HDP co-mayors, “through appointment of trustees both laws and the people’s will have been ignored.”

CHP vice chair Yıldırım Kaya, “appointing trustees instead of people’s elected officials is to appoint trustees instead of democracy. I call upon all people that have conscience, reclaim democracy, rights, laws and justice all together.”

Leader of the Labour Party in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn reacted against dismissal of elected mayors and appointment of trustees in their stead, calling for Turkey to respect rule of law and human rights.

Read: “Adana Labor and Democracy Forces: Ugly Truth Behind Appointed Trustees has been Revealed”