Local elections in Turkey: Pro-Kurdish DEM party is denied certificate of appointment

Local elections in Turkey
Pro-Kurdish DEM party is denied certificate of appointment

Sit-in strike and protest in Diyarbakir: “The will of the people cannot be ignored”. photo

© Mehmet Masum Suer/SOPA/ZUMA/dpa

Abdullah Zeydan was elected mayor in the city of Van with 55 percent. But the politician is subsequently excluded. The reason: He shouldn’t have stood for election in the first place.

After the local elections in the In Türkiye, numerous people demonstrated against the subsequent exclusion of a pro-Kurdish politician who had won a mayoralty. A total of 89 people were arrested in southeastern Turkey and in the coastal metropolis of Izmir, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

There were also protests in Istanbul. According to media reports, the police sometimes used tear gas. To justify the arrests, the Interior Minister wrote that the demonstrators had thrown stones and shouted slogans in support of the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). The governor of Van province banned gatherings for 15 days, according to the state news agency.

The background to the protests is the subsequent exclusion of the elected pro-Kurdish mayor in the city of Van, Abdullah Zeydan, from the election. According to his pro-Kurdish DEM party, Zeydan was refused the certificate of appointment – even though he was elected mayor on Sunday with around 55 percent of the vote. Instead, the AKP’s second-place candidate will be appointed mayor by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to preliminary results, this only reached around 27 percent.

Justification of the local electoral authority

According to Anadolu, the local electoral authority justified its decision by saying that Zeydan had a criminal record and therefore should not have stood for election. The authorities had approved Zeydan as a candidate in the election on Sunday weeks ago.

The incident is reminiscent of the dismissals of pro-Kurdish local politicians in the past: In the 2019 local elections, the pro-Kurdish party under the name HDP won 65 mayoral positions – but the government in Ankara had the majority of the politicians removed from office due to terrorism allegations and replaced by receivers.

The DEM also suspects electoral fraud in several provinces in southeastern Turkey, where it finished behind the AKP. She wants to have the votes counted again in Bitlis, Sirnak and Kars.


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