Turkish bureaucrat donates Kurdish town's municipal building to police

An HDP MP told Kurdistan 24 the Turkish national police now occupies the municipality where his party candidate got 71 percent of votes in.
author_image Rawa Barwari

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Turkish government-appointed bureaucrat has donated the municipality building of the town of Bismil in the Kurdish province of Diyarbakir to the national police; an opposition lawmaker told Kurdistan 24 in the wake of last weekend’s local elections.

“The Bismil municipal building is used by the police. So, in fact, the municipality has no place to function,” MP Imam Tascier of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) representing Diyarbakir at the Turkish Parliament said in response to a question over the phone.

In Turkey, the police is a national law enforcement agency controlled by the highly centralized Ankara government.

“We once had a municipality. But as [Ankara] appointed the sub-governor as the mayor, he is now demolishing and turning it into a park. Then they built a new building in a different neighborhood. But now police have moved in there for some 20 days or so,” Tascier said.

The district has a population of about 110,000 per 2012 data.

The administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the elected Mayor Cemile Eminoglu in February 2017 and appointed the sub-governor there, Turgay Gulenc, as the acting mayor or “trustee” to run municipal affairs as part of an ongoing massive crackdown targeting the Kurdish movement. Ankara later replaced Guler with another sub-governor, Kerem Suleyman Yuksel.

Cemiloglu was elected with 68 percent of votes in the 2014 local elections.

In Sunday’s elections that have been disputed elsewhere, HDP’s candidate Orhan Ayaz got 71.43 percent of the votes cast compared to the 25 percent the AKP candidate received.

In the run-up to the nationwide local elections, Erdogan threatened to replace elected mayors with bureaucrats should pro-Kurdish candidates win.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany