Co-mayor candidate Önkol: DEM Party will rebuild Sur with its people

Gulan Fatma Önkol, co-mayor candidate for Sur, said that "the DEM Party will rebuild Sur with its people."

Gulan Fatma Önkol is the co-mayor candidate of the DEM Party for Sur Municipality, together with Adnan Orhan. Önkol said that a special assimilation policy was carried out in Sur and that as a result of that policy and the trustee rule, many people were forced to leave the borough. "We will rebuild Sur together with our people," she said.

Gulan Fatma Önkol was born in 1994 in the village of Çemê Elika in Lice (Licê). She was forced to leave the village with her family when the state, in the ‘90s, burned down hundreds of villages. She spent her childhood in a patriotic family, witnessing patriotic activities, during the 90s, when the spiral of violence grew. She took part in many activities to raise awareness about the violations of rights in the city, the failure to prosecute the perpetrators, the continuity of the state of violence and usurpation of rights. She studied Political Science and International Relations at Artuklu University. After university, she worked with various civil society organizations in Amed. She worked in the fields of migration, women, children, ecology and human rights. She worked in Sur for about 5 years.

Proud to be part of this struggle

Speaking to ANF, Gulan Fatma Önkol said that the DEM Party is the only party to which she feels she belongs in terms of her Kurdish identity, language, culture and struggle for rights, and added: "As per the party paradigm, women have a free, ecological and democratic structure. This is the party whose support I can find in society with my identity as a Kurdish woman. It is the voice of women, young people, disabled people, different beliefs and groups that see groups that are disadvantaged in society. As a disabled young woman candidate, I am a DEM Party candidate because it is the voice and representation of the people with its policy of advocating equal representation, focusing on women's gains, and not giving up on its demand for peace. I don't think there is any other party other than the DEM Party in terms of representing the Kurdish people. The DEM party is about defending the Kurdish identity and language by opposing the dirty policies carried out against the Kurdish people for years, defending participatory and direct democracy in terms of quality and inclusiveness, respecting nature, living things and life as a whole, standing against the colonialist, consumerist system. The DEM Party is the party that equates women's freedom with people's freedom by advocating equal representation. It makes me proud to be a part of this party and this struggle."

The region suffered from heavy displacement

Önkol said that it is of great importance that many different beliefs and cultures live together in the Sur region and that historical and oral history transmission is still alive. She added: "In the case of Sur, dirty policies have been systematically pursued for years by the trustee regime. After 2015, the borough suffered from a very heavy displacement and attempts were made to destroy the integrity, structure, memory and culture of the place. Under the name of urban transformation, historical buildings and people's living spaces were razed to the ground, dehumanized, and efforts were made to 'cancel the memory' of the streets that witnessed the conflict by turning them into shopping centres. Discriminatory and alienating attitudes and behaviors through structures that serve political ideologies through radical Islamism continue to increase day by day. While the streets of the city continue to pose a risk to safety because of the abandoned buildings, we also observed an increase in drugs addiction and drug dealing. Women and young people who cannot find economic employment opportunities are disadvantaged, and the trustees did nothing."

Assimilation policy and the attempt to erase Sur’s collective memory

Noting that the assimilation policies carried out in the field of language and the lack of cultural, artistic and sports activity areas have made the situation worse for women, children and young people, Önkol said: "The trustees aimed at erasing the collective memory of Sur. We plan to carry out and develop needs-based work with our understanding of social municipalism, which is locally fed, self-sufficient, productive, based on direct democratic participation, and with our multilingual municipality approach that takes care of women, children, disabled people and young people in all production and living areas."

We will win again!

Önkol said: "The DEM Party is the only party that will work with a pluralistic and democratic approach by including the citizens, the city's civil society organizations and assemblies in all decision-making processes, with a perspective that prioritizes women, children, young people and disabled people. Sur needs the DEM Party, and the DEM Party needs Sur. As our party stated in its election manifesto, we have won many times, we have succeeded many times. We will succeed again. We will win again. We are coming once again with the experiences of our past and our belief in the future to run our city together. We will rebuild Sur together with our people. We're coming to take back what's ours. We are coming to surround the streets of our city with love, labor and service."