The pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has urged public resistance against the recent ousting of three pro-Kurdish mayors, Gazete Duvar news website reported on Tuesday.
Diyarbakir Mayor Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli, Mardin Mayor Ahmet Turk and Van Mayor Bedia Ozgokce Ertan from HDP were on Monday morning removed from their posts in a government-led step that received heavy criticism from Turkey’s opposition as well as international authorities.
The Interior Ministry announced that their offices will be replaced by interim officials appointed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
Speaking to the press during a protest against Ankara’s controversial move in Diyarbakir, Sezai Temelli, the co-chair of Turkey’s HDP urged the people to resist against the replacement of Kurdish mayors by raising their voices.
“You can see here today a regime of pressure and persecution,” the co-chair told reporters on the street as police acted against the protesters in front of the town hall.
“We have never come to an agreement with those on the fascist bloc, and we never will. We will continue to resist wherever we are because resistance is our legitimate right,” he said referring to the bloc formed by the AKP and its main ally the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Labeling the removal of Kurdish mayors as a “civilian coup,” Temelli emphasized: “Turkey is our common homeland. We will protect our will, homeland, province, and municipality, and sweep away these cowards, these trustees and this regime [of Erdogan].”
The HDP leader expressed that they do not accept the “attack” that targeted Kurdish people’s will as well as their struggle for freedom, democracy, and peace.
“We will be in plain sight every day and speak. We’ll continue shouting out with the voice of the truth against them. HDP will not be silenced,” Temelli said in reference to the AKP government.
“Raise your voices everywhere, stop life. Ours is a struggle for law and justice. Go to your municipality [building] every day and protect it until the trustees leave those offices. We will overcome fascism. Take a firm stand against this violence and never give up,” Temelli urged.
Erdogan warned before the March polls that any candidate with links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) would be dismissed from office and replaced by officials appointed by his AKP government.
Designated as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government, the United States and the European Union, the PKK is an armed militant group which has waged an insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast since the 1980s.
A total of 90 mayors from the pro-Kurdish HDP, including Turk, were removed from their posts following a failed putsch bid that targeted the ruling AKP on July 15, 2016, also due to suspected terror-related charges.