Recently I was in the city of Van to offer consultancy during strategic planning process at the metropolitan municipality. I will explain my first-hand experiences what kind of damage appointed trustee has caused in the city previously, because trustees are not only theft of political rights.
Appointment of trustees instead of elected officials is based on anti-people practices to begin with. In any local governance body, the first thing for appointed trustees to do has been to shut down service units for the business-women, women’s shelter, Women Solidarity Center, Municipal Women’s Unit… Women have been the primary target of trustees.
While shutting down the municipal units for women, appointed trustee in its two and a half year term also shot down Nuda Theatre Group and fired all the trainers. The trustees are also enemies of the arts apparently.
The thing called “appointed trustee”, has taken a series of steps to destroy the institutional structure it has taken over and destroy it. They have dismissed the planners, architects, engineers and other qualified personnel, thus making it ungovernable and preventing inspections & checks. Institutional capacity has been deliberately destroyed at these municipalities.
Again, knowingly and deliberately, with a directive from the “center” the financial capacity of the municipality was collapsed. Basically, the municipality was robbed, and there was no officials left to audit this theft, so municipality’s own resources have been shared by the central and local thieves. Van Metropolitan Municipality was taken over with ₺1.5 Billion debt on March 31…
During the governance of the appointed trustee, the municipality’s properties were put up on sale; valuable properties of the municipality located at the city center were handed over to cronies. The most obvious example is the municipal car park; due to the sold land, municipality has become a renter on its own land for the municipal vehicles.
Nuda Cultural Center which I have personally visited, was turned into a strange building and given to Mufti Authority; after the sound systems, heating & cooling systems, musical instruments, various training material and many other properties located inside it were stolen without adding them to the inventory of course.
Appointed trustee mayor sold the old municipal building for a really low price and looked for an institution to hand over the new building as well. As it can be seen, the goal here is not to govern but to destroy and to cause such a damage to prevent any further attempts to govern as a municipality ever again.
Appointed trustee mayor spent ₺650.800 for the concrete wall to surround the Van Metropolitan Municipality, separating it from the people. The same concrete blocks on the border of Israel and Palestine. I had asked “why are you not removing these blocks from here” during my visit; apparently the Ministry of Interior had refused permission to remove the wall after elected co-mayors named their desire to remove it.
In the two and a half years of appointed trustee term in Van, the municipality has taken over ₺200 million loans and these have been reflected in the Court of Audits’ reports due to irregularities. State officials have detected irregularities and problems from purchases to budget applications, to employments and many other fields.
Applications of appointed trustee mayors are an attempt to destroy local governance, prevent institutionalization and block municipal services; they are an application of pillaging.
So, finally the appointed trustee mayor of Van Metropolitan Municipality, Murat Zorluoğlu… What has happened to him after he completed his term in Van in two and a half years? He was elected as Trabzon Metropolitan Mayor, under governing Justice & Development Party AKP.
Thank you for hearing me out; now please go ahead and spread the word, tell it to everyone.