The lavish taxpayer-funded offices of a government-appointed administrator of one of Turkey’s largest cities has caused a furor on social media.
The luxurious former offices of Cumali Atilla were revealed by Diyarbakir’s newly elected Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) mayor Selcuk Mizrakli yesterday, who shared video footage of the offices on social media.
The video on Mızraklı’s Twitter account attracted extensive attention on social media platforms in Turkey.
The footage shows Mizrakli’s surprise as he enters the renovated the mayoral offices, which were austere premises during the tenure of the city’s previously elected HDP co-mayors Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli, who were forcefully removed from office by Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Atilla was appointed as an administrator of the Diyarbakir Municipality while Kisanak and Anli were jailed on terrorism charges in 2016.
Mızraklı says in the footage that Atilla made extensive renovations to the mayoral office, spending taxpayers’ money to buy luxurious furniture and even had a special and expensive bathroom built in the office.
“If you visit undeveloped countries, you witness the poverty and misery on streets but if you enter the buildings, you will witness the magnificence life. They (AKP rulers) were promoting humble lifestyles but now they live in a position (luxurious lifestyle) that is not something anyone can be proud of, but everyone has to feel the embarrassment of their current situation. ” Speaking to Turkish news portal Haber Aktuel, Mizrakli said that the office of Atilla was a clear indication of “a waste of money and plunder.”
Mızraklı received 62.9 percent of the vote in Diyarbakır In the local elections held on March 31. Atilla ran for AKP and garnered 30.9 percent of the vote.
Following the failed July 2016 coup Turkey introduced legislation in September 2016 that granted the Interior Ministry the right to remove mayors and municipal council members from their posts during the state of emergency.
Following the law’s enactment, the Interior Ministry arrested 71 pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) co-mayors and appointed trustees to 94 DBP municipalities.
The DBP is the sister party of the HDP and the party was formed in 2014 and assigned exclusively to representatives on the local administration level. Erdogan has repeatedly equated HDP with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an armed insurgency. The decades-long conflict in Turkey that has cost the lives of more than 40,000 people since 1984.