Erdogan’s party demands to repeat the municipal elections in the provinces, where the victory of opposition candidates. In some districts, the winners can’t take their posts in the halls.
When Guljan Kacmaz need to go somewhere in his hometown of van, the road almost always takes a long time. People on the streets recognize her, join her conversations, to ask. This is not surprising – many in van believe a woman as its mayor.
In municipal elections in late March, the 36-year-old Guljan Kacmaz was a candidate from the opposition Pro-Kurdish democracy Party of the peoples (HDP) – and won the election, gaining 54% of votes: absolute majority. But the joy of victory did not last long.
“On election night I was totally relaxed. Already when was released the first results it became clear that we won – says Guljan. – The next day after the elections, our party headquarters people began to come to congratulate us with the victory”.
Two weeks later Guljan Kacmaz learned that she was forbidden to hold a post of the mayor. “I was at a meeting with voters. Later, on the way home, I received a message on mobile phone stating that my mandate was revoked,” – says the politician.
To run can, take positions – not
Turkish Central electoral Commission justified the ban as follows: Guljan Kacmaz can not hold the position of mayor, because after a failed coup attempt in 2016, she was dismissed from his post by the emergency decree. Then the Turkish government, despite international criticism, arrested, sacked or suspended from their posts of more than 140 thousand civil servants. Guljan, who worked as a geography teacher, were also in this list. The reason, according to her, she still doesn’t know: “I never thought that because of this I was forbidden to hold a post of the mayor. Yes, and why? In the end, the election Commission approved my candidacy,” says Guljan.
The place of the mayor in the municipal district of van Edremit went to the person who took the second place in the elections, – the candidate from ruling justice and development party (AKP). The interview, which is pre-agreed with DW, he canceled at the last moment.
The CEC decision is a blow to the will of the voters
On market near van Edremit a and two months after the election angered by the decision of the election Commission. “It’s not fair,” says an elderly woman. “Forbidding her to hold the office of mayor, they went against the will of the people”, – intervenes in the conversation the young man.
A few weeks ago Guljan Kacmaz staged a picket to protest against the decision of the CEC. The rally was held outside city hall, where she had to work. Law enforcement only took a few minutes to get rid of Gülcan. Fight with the police took the mobile phone to her friend. “The Central election Commission should be completely independent of the Institute, – the woman speaks. – But in reality it is controlled by Erdogan’s party AKP, and that is why she deprived me of the mandate”.
Only candidates from Pro-Kurdish democracy Party of the peoples (HDP) won in five provinces in the Southeast of Turkey, but despite this, positions in local authorities, by decision of the CEC, went to candidates from the ruling Party of justice and development. The opposition sees this as a deliberate attempt not to allow its representatives to power. The official representative of PD Sarukhan, Oloc speaks of a “conscious political conspiracy” on the part of the ruling coalition. Member of the European Parliament Mithat Sanjar said the decision of the Turkish Central election Commission “impact on the will of the voters and the future of democracy in Turkey.” The AKP insists on holding repeat elections in those provinces where the victory of opposition candidates.
Erdogan threatens to representatives of PD
The Tanysh Khairulla – head of municipality in another district of van and the only representative of AKP in the city, commented on the accusations of the opposition. “Our political opponents are deliberately nominated candidates who were previously dismissed from their posts by the emergency decree, says Tanish. – Our President warned them: “do Not send to the race of those associated with terrorist groups, other criminals or those who were dismissed from state service. If you still decide to do so – blame yourself”.
Democratic party of the peoples – the second largest opposition party in the country. President Erdogan accuses her that she is the political wing of the PKK, which is recognized as terrorist and banned not only in Turkey but also in many other countries around the world, including in the US and the EU. During the election campaign Mr Erdogan again threatened to replace the politicians from the party of personal data, holding public office, the interim authorities.
In 2016, the government dismissed from office 95 of 102 municipal leaders, members of PD, accusing them of having links with the Kurdistan workers ‘ party. Many of them, like hundreds of their supporters and other officials, are still in prison. The situation in the country remains tense, and this can be seen on the streets of van everywhere in the city, soldiers and police, many areas patrolled military equipment.
Guljan Kacmaz addressed in court with the claim about cancellation of results in the election, however, she realizes that the chances to win are negligible. Yet she works in a stationery store owned by her husband. It is also dismissed from government service by a special decree two years ago. Both spouses took the international passport, work in the specialty Guljan can not find. The store helps them make ends meet.
“I lost my job in one day, bitterly recalls Guljan. – They ruined my life.” But she’s not going to give up. “I want to be around people in van-Edremit, she says. And I hope that the lawlessness and hostility to the democratic forces of Turkey will soon depart to the past.”
After winning the election friends Guljan gave her the gold badge with her name and new position. While he was standing on a shelf in the stationery store with her husband. This badge is almost the only reminder of that recently Guljan was elected mayor.