Protest in Hakkari to defend the will of people against the AKP’s coup

People took to the streets in Hakkari after the elected co-mayor, Mehmet Sıddık Akış, was dismissed, replaced by a trustee and sentenced to 19 years and 6 months in prison.

Mehmet Sıddık Akış of the DEM Party was elected the Mayor of Hakkari province, winning 48.92 percent of the vote in the elections held on 31 March. He was taken into custody in Van on 3 June and the municipality was blockaded. The Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that Akış was suspended from duty and a trustee was appointed in his place.

The 61st hearing of the lawsuit filed against Mehmet Sıddık Akış in 2014 was held today at Hakkari Heavy Penal Court No 1. The court sentenced Akış to 19 years and 6 months in prison and issued an arrest warrant. Protests started in the city after the court decision.

The courthouse was blockaded by police barricades and armoured vehicles before the hearing. While MPs and journalists were prevented from entering the courthouse, only a limited number of lawyers could enter the courthouse for the hearing. DEM Party MP Newroz Uysal argued with the police officers who prevented them. People started to wait in front of the courthouse with the slogan ‘Sıddık Akış is our will’.

Mehmet Sıddık Akış was brought to the courthouse to attend the hearing under blockade. According to the information given by the lawyers, the section for the audience in the courtroom was filled with riot police officers.

During the hearing, Akış said the following: “I state that the file put on the agenda today is also political. My head is high. I am 53 years old. I have been struggling for all these years and I will continue to struggle. I heard that there were news reports that I had escaped. I never attempted to escape. I stand behind everything I did, I did what I had to do politically. I stand before you with my head held high. I said peace, I said brotherhood, I said justice, I said equality, I said freedom. I have built my whole life around these, and I will continue to do so. I am not afraid of being arrested or going to prison. I stand before you with my head held high. I do not demand acquittal or release from you. I demand a new indictment to be prepared. Why was this trial not held 4 months or a year ago, but now? I know that this trial is political. I have done my duty with honour for our people without touching a penny. I do not want to be tried with an indictment prepared by a FETÖ prosecutor.”

The court sentenced Akış to 19 years and 6 months. The elected co-mayor was arrested after the verdict.

Protests started in front of the court after the verdict. DEM Party Co-Chair Tülay Hatimoğulları, DBP Co-Chairs Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar and Keskin Bayındır and DEM Party MPs are participating in the protest demonstration.

Lawyers and MPs who were set to stage a march were blockaded twice by the police.

The MPs overcame the blockade, met with the residents and marched.

After the march, DEM Party Co-Chair Tülay Hatimoğulları made a statement in front of Hakkari Governor's Office. Noting that the case against elected Hakkari Co-Mayor Mehmet Sıddık Akış was filed in 2014, Tülay Hatimoğulları said, “This verdict is null and void.”

“We will file a criminal complaint against Hakkari Police Directorate over the violence and torture inflicted by the law enforcement here. Those who think that they can overthrow the will of the people by attacking us on the orders of the governor who appointed himself a trustee have once again seen that the people are on the side of their own party, not the fascists. The people are on the side of the DEM Party, not the AKP, the enemy of the people. Those who cannot digest this attitude, especially Erdoğan and Bahçeli, should come and see the people of Hakkari. The people of Hakkari are defending the will they put forward on 31 March on the streets and squares today.”

After Tülay Hatimoğulları's speech, the DEM Party and DBP delegation started a vigil in front of Hakkari Governor's Office.