In South­east­ern Turkey, « admin­is­tra­tors » were des­ig­nat­ed by decree on 28 Kur­dish may­oral­ties. The demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed Co-May­ors were removed from office as of 9 am this morn­ing. Spon­ta­neous demon­stra­tions are occur­ring in some localities.

In the Sur neigh­bor­hood in Amed (Diyarbakır), while City Hall staff were read­ing a press release in the pres­ence of the Co-May­or of the Amed Metrop­o­lis, Gül­tan Kışanak, and of HDP par­lia­men­tary mem­bers Sibel Yiği­talp, Felek­nas Uca and Mer­al Danış Beş­taş, police attacked the group with inten­sive use of water can­nons and trun­cheons. When the pro­test­ers took refuge in the offices of the DBP (Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of the Regions) and of the HDP (People’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty), police attempt­ed to break in, ram­ming down the doors. The peo­ple gath­ered inside pushed them back. Hüseyin Bayram, Deputy sec­re­tary of the Amed Metrop­o­lis City Hall and one cit­i­zen were tak­en into cus­tody. Police con­tin­ue to make announce­ments order­ing the demon­stra­tors to break up, but they are refus­ing to leave.

At about 15h30 (local time) while we write these lines, the stand­off con­tin­ues in a tense atmosphere.

Mean­while in oth­er Kur­dish towns in Turkey, inter­net con­nec­tions have been cut off since 00h30 last night. Although the DHA agency announced the block had been lift­ed at noon, prob­lems per­sist in some towns. Our con­tacts in the South­east­ern region inform us inter­net con­nec­tions are still restrict­ed. They tell us that, fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions with var­i­ous ser­vice providers, the cus­tomer ser­vice staff half admit­ted that the slow-downs were not caused by tech­ni­cal work but they couldn’t say more, being « held to secre­cy on this top­ic » ; which pro­vides unof­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion on the sus­pi­cions of offi­cial orders for main­te­nance of the block.

The AKP state of emergency

We should recall that the Turk­ish Min­is­ter of the Inte­ri­or Süley­man Soy­lu, had put for­ward an odd notion in a dec­la­ra­tion last Sep­tem­ber 9: « With­in the next 15 days, lead­er­ship of 28 may­oral­ties will come under the con­trol of Qandil. »

The attri­bu­tion of admin­is­tra­tors to replace the may­ors was done fol­low­ing the adop­tion of decree n°674 on Sep­tem­ber 1st, a state of emer­gency decree con­cern­ing may­ors, which pro­vides for removal from their duties of may­ors who sup­port or assist « ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions such as FETÖ, PKK and KCK“.

This decree con­tra­venes to sev­er­al arti­cles of the Turk­ish Con­sti­tu­tion, to inter­na­tion­al agree­ments as well as to the Euro­pean Agree­ment on Human Rights, and to the Uni­ver­sal Char­ter on Basic Human Rights. Local pop­u­la­tions expe­ri­ence its imple­men­ta­tion as an « admin­is­tra­tive coup d’état » and raise the fol­low­ing ques­tion: « Where is the dif­fer­ence between those who attempt­ed a putsch on July 15 and those who yell « We’re tak­ing over the lead­er­ship ! » and barge into City Halls that are under the respon­si­bil­i­ty of those elect­ed by the people? »

This admin­is­tra­tive coup d’Etat has for main tar­get Kur­dish towns with may­ors elect­ed by 65–95% of the vot­ers. The may­oral­ties are those of 2 towns, 24 provinces and 2 local­i­ties: Bat­man, Hakkari, Adana-Pozan­tı, Ağrı-Diyadin, Bat­man-Beşiri, Bat­man-Ger­cüş, Diyarbakır-Sil­van, Diyarbakır-Sur, Erzu­rum-Aşkale, Erzu­rum-Hınıs, Gire­sun-Çamoluk, Iğdır-Tuzlu­ca, Konya-Ilgın, Mardin-Dargeçit, Mardin-Derik, Mardin Mazı­dağı, Mardin Nusay­bin, Muş-Bulanık, Siirt ‑Eruh, Şan­lıur­fa-Suruç, Şır­nak-Cizre, Şır­nak-Silopi, Van-Edremit,Van-Erciş, Van-İpekyo­lu, Van-Özalp, Bat­man-Beşiri-İkiköprü, Iğdır-Merkez-Hoşhaber.

Of these, 12 have been arrest­ed so far.

Although « concerned », the United States support Turkey nonetheless

The Amer­i­can embassy released a state­ment on its website:

« We are con­cerned over the news of con­flicts in South­east­ern Turkey, fol­low­ing the deci­sion to remove may­ors from their duties and replace them with admin­is­tra­tors, with the gov­ern­men­tal the­sis that cer­tain local author­i­ties would be sup­port­ive of terrorism.

The Unit­ed States con­demn ter­ror­ism and sup­port Turkey’s right to self-defense. We wish to under­line the impor­tance of respect­ing due process of Law, and the respect of indi­vid­ual rights, includ­ing the right to peace­ful polit­i­cal expres­sion, as rec­og­nized in the Turk­ish con­sti­tu­tion, while await­ing the inves­ti­ga­tions of the Turk­ish author­i­ties con­cern­ing alle­ga­tions that some local author­i­ties would have joined ter­ror­ist groups or giv­en them finan­cial support.

We trust that the attri­bu­tion of admin­is­tra­tors will be tem­po­rary and that the cit­i­zen will soon be allowed to elect local rep­re­sen­ta­tives, as pro­vid­ed for in Turk­ish laws. »

If it only concerned the mayors…

The attacks and repres­sive mea­sures against HDP lead­ers don’t stop with the may­ors. The 59 HDP mem­bers of par­lia­ment are still under the scope of the lift­ing of their par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty for inves­tiga­tive pur­pos­es, under the new anti-ter­ror­ist law. Arrests were « post­poned » because of the failed putsch. The AKP is sav­ing the polit­i­cal and repres­sive offen­sive for a favor­able moment. We should recall that the lift­ing of immu­ni­ty result­ed from an unan­i­mous vote by the Assem­bly – pseu­do Kemal­ist oppo­si­tion includ­ed — against the 59 mem­bers of Parliament.

On Sep­tem­ber 9, Alp Altınörs, Deputy HD Co-Pres­i­dent was arrest­ed dur­ing a raid on his home. Accord­ing to a state­ment from the cen­tral bureau of the HDP, Alp Altınörs is being held for the « offense » of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the funer­al of Zakir Karab­u­lut, one of the vic­tims of the bomb attack com­mit­ted in Ankara on Octo­ber 10 2015. Speak­ing at the cer­e­mo­ny, Alp Altınörs had said of Zakir, a 24 year old stu­dent: « Our com­rade Zakir was respon­si­ble for our orga­ni­za­tion in Tokat. »

This arrest has no legal basis.

tweet-hdp-arrestation-alp-altinors maires

Alp Altınörs, our Deputy Co-Pres­i­dent ille­gal­ly held in cus­tody, must be released immediately.

And lest we for­get, a few days ago, 11 301 teach­ers of which 9 843 were mem­bers of the Eğitim-Sen Union, were sus­pend­ed, after the lawyers, the uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sors, the jour­nal­ists and intel­lec­tu­als… And the repres­sion under the antiter­ror­ist law and the state of emer­gency tar­gets only the non-nation­al­ist demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­si­tion hence­forth, and most of all, its representatives.

We may noneth­less express moti­vat­ed wor­ries over the capac­i­ty for a « uni­fied » response in Turkey. The « Peace » move­ment has remained divid­ed and frag­ment­ed over the past year, because of par­ty and move­ment lead­er­ships that can’t go beyond their Kemal­ist hori­zon and now find them­selves in an approach based on « nation­al union for democ­ra­cy and against ter­ror ». The AKP gov­ern­ment knows it can strike with no effec­tive response in this con­text. The polit­i­cal iner­tia of a pseu­do sec­u­lar oppo­si­tion adds its weight to the ham­mer of the state of emergency.

More­over, reac­tions out­side Turkey that might come from « democ­rats » in Europe (not to men­tion the shame­ful sup­port from Euro­pean gov­ern­ments) often stop at com­pas­sion or, worse, at the mag­i­cal for­mu­la « none of that in our beau­ti­ful Europe. » We could at least expect a « pro­fes­sion­al » defense from teach­ers’ unions or a « demo­c­ra­t­ic sol­i­dar­i­ty » from a num­ber of elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives. But the elec­toral drums in some Euro­pean coun­tries are already drown­ing out the sound of inter­na­tion­al issues, except where it comes to refus­ing « refugees ».

So let us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing a sound­ing board, espe­cial­ly since the domes­tic offen­sive is cou­pled with a Turk­ish nation­al­ist agres­sion against Roja­va out­side its borders.

Illus­tra­tion: Hakkari City Hall, instal­la­tion of Turk­ish flags to sig­ni­fy: « We’re tak­ing over leadership! »

Added on September 12:

Kedis­tan must men­tion that spe­cial­ists in the prac­tice of the split between their alliances with Erdo­gan and their inner demo­c­ra­t­ic itch­es pro­duced a « press release » via their « Nation­al Sec­re­tary in charge of glob­al­iza­tion, reg­u­la­tion, coop­er­a­tion » in which they spec­i­fy: « The Social­ist Par­ty, attached to the respect of demo­c­ra­t­ic rules and val­ues, con­demns this most recent and grave attack on human rights and on the respect of uni­ver­sal suf­frage. It calls on the imme­di­ate rein­state­ment in their duties of the may­ors, the lib­er­a­tion of the arrest­ed ones and calls on the ces­sa­tion of actions under­tak­en against its broth­er-par­ties. » Well, it’s bet­ter than noth­ing and should pro­vide the incen­tive to do more …than stuff­ing the press release into a drawer.

French: “28 maires kur­des sont retirés de leurs fonc­tions” Clic to read

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