The arrest of three members of parliament during the last weeks and the Turkish Government’s recent suspension of five more mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the southeast of the country and their replacement with government trustees are of deepest concern to us, in particular as these arrests appear to be politically motivated. These repressions affect not only politicians from the HDP, but also politicians from other parties, such as those from the social democratic party CHP.
Last Friday, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe published an official report on the replacement of elected candidates and mayors and condemned the government’s practice as undemocratic.
As a result of these arbitrary actions against the elected officials, out of the 65 municipalities that the HDP won in the local elections of March 2019, 45 appointments have now been filled with unelected officials. Moreover, six municipalities were not allowed to be chaired by the HDP’s elected candidates due to the unlawful decree-law implementations. The ruling party’s candidates have been appointed as mayors to the six municipalities as a result.
We condemn the government’s suspension of democratically elected mayors on terrorism charges and their replacement by government trustees, especially when the charges are not supported by compelling evidence. Therefore, we call on the Turkish Government to respect the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms as enshrined in Turkey’s Constitution.
We express our solidarity with all mayors of democratic parties, who have the courage to continue fighting for democracy in Turkey at this very difficult time for all of us.
Dr. Bärbel Kofler, Frank Schwabe, Gökay Akbulut, Gyde Jensen, Kirsten Lühmann, Margit Stumpp