Co-mayor Asya Gezer finally moves into the town hall

In Dargeçit, after eight years of forced AKP administration, Asya Gezer, a co-mayor elected by the people, finally moved into the town hall again.

After the AKP tried in vain to challenge the DEM party's election victory in Dargeçit (Kerboran), co-mayor Asya Gezer moved into the town hall.

According to official information, the DEM party won the elections with 49.06 percent of the vote (6,559 votes) compared to 43.59 percent (5,828 votes) for the AKP. This meant that the democratic opposition was able to take over the district again. DEM's predecessor party, the HDP, won the elections in 2016. Shortly afterward, the Turkish Interior Ministry appointed a trustee. In the 2019 local elections, the regime relied on civil servants and soldiers who could vote anywhere for supposed missions, and thus claimed victory. Thanks to this electoral fraud, the AKP was able to prevail with a lead of 634 votes. Last 31 March too, the AKP obviously tried a similar strategy. There is no other way to explain the increase in the number of voters by over 1,000 people despite a slightly lower overall turnout. But the DEM party won despite everything. The AKP nevertheless did not want to accept this result and requested a recount of the votes. While the regional election committee approved the AKP's request for a recount, the decision was overturned by the High Election Committee (YSK). The co-mayors Asya Gezer and Aziz Akın were thus able to move into the town hall.

Climate of fear

Asya Gezer told ANF that the political impotence after the massive repression following the resistance for self-government in 2015/2016 had been broken. Gezer reported on a wave of refugees due to the repression in the district: "This led to a turning point; there was an atmosphere of fear. A trustee was appointed, and immediately after, the AKP took over the city administration in 2019. This caused even more fear among people and the pressure continued to increase. In Dargeçit there are four roads that lead into the city. There are checkpoints on all four access roads. Almost every street is monitored by cameras. This, of course, created an atmosphere of fear. People report that they haven't even set foot in City Hall in eight years."

We worked together with the people

The DEM party's preparation for the local elections began with a democratic pre-selection of candidates. Asya Gezer said that there was already a lot of support: "In the first two weeks when we started, for example, we went to the election office and looked at each other and asked ourselves whether anyone would come, whether people would take part. We started our campaign work first in the villages. We visited all the houses in the villages, one by one, without distinguishing whether people voted for the AKP, the CHP or the MHP. We tried to contact all the families, especially the mothers, because it is the mothers and the women who are the first to welcome you into a home. They opened the door for us. While we continued our work in the villages, we also worked in the city. Three or four commissions were formed every evening. Each commission consisted of four, five or sometimes six or seven friends. There were more and more of us, and with this work the fractures in the population, the fear and the intimidation faded into the background. A feeling of togetherness emerged that was even reflected in virtual media. There was great enthusiasm for the election campaign. I can truly say that Dargeçit became an example for everyone during this election campaign."

"People united against the mobile voters"

Gezer said that this was how the regime was defeated: "I would like to add that we knew that about 600 people from outside would be brought here to vote, but later it was said that there were about 1,200 non-local voters. When people became aware of this, there was an atmosphere of resignation on the morning of the election. When we released the videos of our protests against these mobile voters, it was well received. People started to get more involved and rebel against the repression and injustice. On election day, none of our young friends, none of our observers, none of our election workers took their eyes off the ballot boxes for even a moment. They stood at the polls until the end. Our MPs came, our lawyers did the same. Not a mother, not a young friend, not a woman, not even a child left the schoolyard, the streets, the district building, until the count was finished. Everyone stayed there until the election was over. We only received our mandates after about a week. There was going to be a recount. Together with our representatives, we lodged an objection with the High Electoral Council and called on people to protest, and a very large crowd gathered in a very short time to support us."

"Creating jobs for women is a priority"

Since the official certificates were handed out late and the public holidays followed, the city administration could only now start its work. Gezer said: "At the moment only the community’s law enforcement officers are in the town hall. When the holidays are over, and we go out into the community, we will look at the whole situation and share our findings with the public. First of all, we will appoint a woman to every commission in the community. We made sure that women are present on every commission. We have two co-mayors. Let me say this: When we first came to the city hall, I looked at the list of employees and saw that out of 200 employees, at most ten are women, the rest are all men. That was the first thing I noticed. Maybe there aren't even ten women in the town hall. We will work on it. We will create jobs for women in every field. We will prioritize the work of women in city government."

"Many urgent problems"

Gezer said there are many urgent problems facing the city administration. The problem of water infrastructure in particular is extreme. That will be addressed first. She continued: "Unemployment is a big problem. There are many young people who are migrating to metropolises and abroad. We have to prevent that. Also, the shop owners are always men. We are thinking about creating employment opportunities for women. We have an old bazaar and especially in this old bazaar we want to set up some shops for women where they can sell their own handicrafts and agricultural products. We also plan to build a women's shelter. In addition to a native language course for children, we want to offer courses in crafts, art, and various other areas for women. We also have a plan to create social facilities for young people. We are thinking of setting up courses, swimming pools, a library and a sports complex where they can at least spend their time."