The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)’s co-chair Sezai Temelli has called on Turkey’s main opposition the Republican People’s Party (CHP) to participate in their struggle for democracy in protest against the recent ousting of three mayors over terror charges, the T24 news portal reported on Thursday.
Mayors of Turkey’s three key provinces in the southeast, Diyarbakir, Mardin, and Van were removed from their posts in a move led by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government due to suspected terror connections.
Dismissals of Diyarbakir Mayor Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli, Mardin Mayor Ahmet Turk and Van Mayor Bedia Ozgokce Ertan from the pro-Kurdish HDP were announced by the Interior Ministry early on Monday.
Ankara has been severely criticized by both local and international circles following the suspension of the mayors as well as the detentions of more than 400 people as part of the same terror investigation.
In what HDP labeled as a “civilian coup” targeting the political will of the people in Turkey, the mayors who came into office after the March election were replaced by interim officials appointed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP.
The HDP leader made the statement while he and his supporters were blockaded by police during a protest in Van province on Thursday.
“What is it [that is so important] about this pallet? This country is on fire! Just come and pour a bucket of water over it,” He said criticizing the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for having issues other than the ousted mayors on their agenda. The co-chair referred to CHP’s recent protests over a decree of Erdogan that handed over the right to operate Turkey’s national Tank and Pallet Factory to the Turkish-Qatari vehicle manufacturer BMC for a 25-year period.
The decision marking the first time a military facility of strategic significance had been privatized drew a reaction from the main opposition due to concerns over national security.
“Do not go after other issues. Now is the time to put out this fire altogether. We call on anyone with a conscience to come and extinguish this fire. We invite everyone to come and participate in this struggle for democracy. Stand shoulder to shoulder [with us] and raise your voice. “Our people cannot enter some streets in their own province. If you look around us, you’ll see that we are giving a press statement in a blockaded area. This is the photo of a coup, a photo of wasted political power,” Temelli continued.
The pro-Kurdish HDP leader vowed they would not leave the streets until they regain their “usurped rights.”
“All the people of Turkey, the laborers, the women will take their place in this struggle. We will raise our voices every night and every day. We’ll say ‘we are here.’ We exist, and we will continue to exist,” Temelli vowed.