Languages: Kurdî ‏سۆرانی‎

Stop Erdoğan’s Political Coup – Defend the Will of Kurdish Voters!

Memet Sıddık Akış, the democratically elected Kurdish Co-Mayor of Colemêrg municipality, was detained on Monday June 3rd and replaced by the Governor of Hakkari. The investigation file used to justify this action is solely based on unfounded allegations by Turkish police and the prosecutor.

Akış’s dismissal displays a blatant disrespect of the Kurdish people’s democratic will that elected him.

DEM (Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party) politician Akış won the co-mayor position in Colemêrg with 48.92% of the vote in Turkey’s local elections on March 31st, despite significant fraud attempts and the use thousands of flown and bused-in Turkish soldiers as ‘ghost voters’. His recent arrest and removal from office echo the past local coup orchestrated by the Erdoğan-led AKP-MHP regime following the 2019 elections. Following that election five years ago, most municipalities led by the DEM predecessor HDP were placed under forced administration, leading to several mayors being imprisoned. Similar actions were attempted by the AKP in Wan (Van) after this year’s elections, but faced a strong public backlash, indicating a growing intolerance towards such regime actions.

The AKP-MHP regime’s moves to retaliate for their significant defeat in the local elections by targeting DEM Party municipalities is an infringement on the constitutional rights to vote and be elected. Decisions from the European Court of Human Rights have revealed that the overly broad and ambiguous definition of “terrorism” in Turkey’s legal system has been exploited and weaponized by the government to suppress its political opponents. The dismissal of co-mayors and imposition of trustees by the Ministry of Interior is evidently unlawful. The fact that the accusation against Akış, for which he has now been dismissed, was made around 10 years-ago also clearly shows that this is an arbitrary orchestrated action by Erdoğan’s authoritarian regime.

Trustees previously installed in HDP municipalities have not only undermined the democratic rights of the Kurdish people but have led to widespread corruption and financial losses. During his previous term, the reappointed Hakkari Governor Ali Çelik was accused of embezzling funds, leaving a debt of 315,705,000 Turkish Lira. The economic and political harm caused by trustees appointed by the AKP-MHP regime poses a significant barrier to the country’s democratization and the peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question. The recurring nature of this trustee policy suggests that trustees could be imposed on municipalities governed by all opposition parties, including Istanbul, in the future.

It is crucial to note that the appointment of a trustee in Hakkari is not solely a “domestic matter.” Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and is in talks with the EU for full membership. Despite numerous pledges for democratization and substantial funding, Turkey’s democratic institutions face systematic repression, and elected officials are subjected to legal persecution.

We urge the Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Union (EU) as well as all democratic public opinion, political parties, and international organisations to take a strong stance against Erdoğan’s political coup, and to show solidarity with the DEM Party, by upholding the democratic political rights of the Kurdish people.

Kurdistan National Congress (KNK)