Nilufer Elik Yilmaz, co-mayor of the Kiziltepe district, from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), has ordered the two-meter wall surrounding the municipal building to be demolished in her first action as the co-mayor.
HDP’s Yilmaz took office as the co-mayor of the Kiziltepe district of the southeastern Mardin province following the local elections held at the end of March, replacing a trustee appointed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in 2016.
Newly-appointed co-mayor on Thursday started the demolishing of the two-meter wall around the municipal building, which had been put upon orders of the government appointed trustee.
Yilmaz, who was present during the knockdown of the wall, became the first person to swing the hammer at the wall in a ceremonial move.
The pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya news agency (MA) quoted Yilmaz as saying, “When we were campaigning for the local elections, our people had only one demand. They said, ‘When we are at the municipal building, we feel as if we are in prison.
We don’t feel psychologically comfortable.’ So, we started to knock down the wall in line with their demand. Our people need to feel free.”
Pro-Kurdish HDP posted a tweet about the incident on Thursday and said they are destroying “walls of shame” that were put up between the people and the municipal administration by the government-appointed trustee.
“No walls or barriers can come between us and our people. We won with our people, we will administer with our people. One day, all the walls of shame and all the barriers will be knocked down and it will free our will,” the tweet read.
The MA reported that barriers in front of the Mardin Metropolitan Municipality building have also been taken down.
Ninety-five HDP mayor-elects serving in predominantly Kurdish-populated cities have been dismissed and replaced with government-appointed trustees as part of an increasing crackdown by Erdogan’s AKP targeting Kurdish political movement, notably after a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.