SOLIDARITY WITH JAILED KURDISH MAYORS AND COUNCILLORS! Defend Local Democracy In Turkey
Defend Local Democracy In Turkey
MEETING CALLED BY THE CENTRE FOR KURDISH PROGRESS IN ASSOCIATION WITH DEFEND KURDISH MAYORS AND COUNCILLORS CAMPAIGN AND PEACE IN KURDISTAN CAMPAIGN
Monday 26th February, 18:00-21:00 hrs
Committee Room 2, City Hall, London SE1 2AA
- Julie Ward MEP, North West England, who has attended trials of Kurdish mayors
- Jennette Arnold OBE AM, London Assembly member for North East London
- Margaret Owen OBE, human rights lawyer who has attended many trials of Kurdish politicians
- Representative from the HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party)
- John Hunt, NUJ freelance journalist, attended recent trial of Diyarbakir co-mayor Gultan Kisanak
- Unmesh Desai, London Assembly member
- Cllr Ayfer Orhan, London Borough of Enfield
More than 100 elected mayors have been imprisoned in the mainly Kurdish south-east of Turkey. It’s part of an attack on the rights of local people, in a region of more than 6 million, to democratically control their local authorities: a right enshrined in the European Charter of Local Self-Government, to which Turkey is a signatory. This usurpation of democracy was not even approved by the Turkish Parliament. Instead President Erdogan used emergency powers to issue Decree No 674, amounting to a de-facto annulment of the 2014 local elections:
- In each of 94 municipalities (out of 103 in the region), the powers of the mayor, municipal assembly and municipal board have been taken over by a state-appointed “trustee”.
- 106 Kurdish co-mayors have been arrested, along with thousands of councillors.
- The powers of elected councils have been suspended; city councils are not allowed to meet.
- Tens of thousands of municipal employees have been sacked
- All women’s departments and facilities have been closed in the trustee-governed municipalities.
Many of the detained mayors face very long jail sentences – for example, prosecutors have demanded 230 years imprisonment for Gultan Kisanak, co-mayor of the city of Dyarbakir and an outstanding champion of women's rights in Turkey. "Without local democracy, there can be no democracy", she says.
These attacks, along with the arrests of HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) MPs, reflect the repressive trajectory of the Turkish state which has devastated the mainly Kurdish region since the end of the peace process in 2015.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
This meeting will discuss how to respond to the urgent call for help by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey and its sister party the Democratic Regions Party (DBP). We want to launch a national campaign of solidarity involving mayors, councillors, Assembly Members of all UK parties and others. By supporting our Kurdish sisters and brothers we can also learn from their inspiring initiatives, in difficult conditions, to develop local democracy and inclusion.
Defend Kurdish Mayors and Councillors - firstname.lastname@example.org , 237 Nuthurst Rd, Manchester M40 3PQ.
February 26, 2018 at 6pm - 9pm
Committee Room 2
London SE1 2AA
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