DEM Party: “We urge AKP government to respect the will of the people in Van!”

Like in 2019, the Erdogan regime is attempting to depose the democratically elected mayor of the Kurdish-majority city Van.
A statement by the DEM Party on its historic victory in Turkey’s local elections — and Erdogan’s attempt to subvert it.
A statement by the DEM Party on its historic victory in Turkey’s local elections — and Erdogan’s attempt to subvert it.

For Turkey’s 2022 parliamentary elections, the Progressive International dispatched an electoral observer mission to the Kurdish-majority city Van to monitor threats to the democratic process. The delegation met with the former co-mayor of Van, Mustafa Avcı. Avcı was democratically elected in 2019, but was detained and replaced — along with the entire Van municipal council — by a state-appointed trustee without investigation or justification. Now, the Erdogan regime is attempting to repeat history. Below is the full statement by the DEM Party:

Our party has achieved a historic victory in the local elections held on March 31, 2024, in Van. The people of Van entrusted all 14 municipalities, including the Metropolitan Municipality, to the DEM Party, establishing it as the leading party in the Provincial General Assembly by a significant margin. The electorate of Van expressed their resolute will decisively at the ballot box, a resounding response to the trustee regime.

Despite such a clear mandate from the public, new illicit actions are being implemented in Van.

As widely known, our Co-Mayor of Van Metropolitan Municipality, Mr. Abdullah Zeydan, completed all requisite legal procedures and successfully secured candidacy approval from the Supreme Election Board (YSK) after rigorous scrutiny. Mr. Zeydan garnered substantial support from the people of Van and was duly elected.

However, merely five minutes before the close of business on Friday, March 29, 2024, and a mere two days before the election, the Ministry of Justice, via an administrative decision and correspondence, contested the legal entitlements of Mr. Zeydan, who had acquired these rights in 2022 and had passed all legal evaluations. Subsequent to this administrative objection letter, which was essentially a directive, the authorized prosecutor's office resubmitted the matter to the court that had issued the final injunction decision. On the same day, the court revoked the final civil rights decision and dismissed the civil rights application, pre-emptively informing the YSK prior to the decision's formalization, thus curtailing the right to object and appeal.

The very court that had initially ruled in favour of restoring the civil rights of our Co-Mayor Mr. Abdullah Zeydan reversed its decision and infringed upon his legal security. This manoeuvre reflects a mentality that disregards the mandate of the people. Mr. Zeydan rightfully holds the position of Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor, as bestowed upon him by the people of Van.

We urge all parties to acknowledge this fact. This erroneous ruling must be promptly overturned. Such actions, which flout the will of the people of Van, are unlawful. 

We call upon all proponents of democratic principles to condemn this course of action.

Respecting the will of the people is fundamental to the essence of democracy.

We implore the government to honour the mandate of the people!

We caution against any attempts to subvert the will of our electorate.

DEM Party Central Executive Board

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