Resistance in Van: We will continue our struggle until we get results

Speaking in Van, Tuncer Bakırhan appealed to the government, saying, “As long as you usurp the will of this people, you are doomed to lose,” Tülay Hatimoğulları said that they would continue their struggle until the return of their mandate.

Protests continue in the Kurdish province of Van where the democratically elected co-mayor of the DEM Party was stripped of his civil rights by order of the Turkish government and unlawfully replaced by the AKP candidate.

The Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) held its Central Executive Committee (MYK) meeting at the Confederation of Public Employees' Trade Unions (KESK) building in Van. After the meeting, a march started in in the city centre. Tens of thousands of people participated in the march and frequently chanted slogans such as "Abdullah Zeydan is our honour", "We will win by resisting" and "Rights, law, justice". After the march, a statement was made at Feqiyê Teyran Park.

Addressing the people here, DEM Party Co-Chair Tuncer Bakırhan said, "As I said before, Van is the heart of the Kurds and Kurdistan. Van, with its honourable stance, has given the answer that the Kurdish demands for freedom and democracy cannot be eliminated by oppression, persecution and trustee system, on Newroz Day, in the elections and today in this field. We feel honoured whenever and wherever we hear Van's name. Those who appointed trustees to our will for two terms are now trying to usurp the will of the people of Van again with a conspiracy, political and judicial coup. We will not allow this. Neither their political coups nor their judicial coups will succeed as long as you stand together here with honour despite all the pressure, batons, guns and pepper gas. We promise you that we will protect all the 14 municipalities we have won here."

Bakırhan emphasised that no one can usurp the will of the people of Van and continued his speech as follows: "The calculations made in Ankara, in those dark depths, are doomed to be shattered by hitting the Newroz field and the Castle in Van. They think that we will swallow this injustice. We call on them to deliver the mandate to the people of Van. I would like to appeal to the YSK (Supreme Election Board); do not be an instrument to this political coup. You authorised Abdullah Zeydan with your own hand and approved his candidacy. Now stand by your decision. Please do not remain under the pressure of the government, which has received the necessary response from the people of Turkey in this election. I hope and wish that you will not ignore the will of this people.”

Bakırhan further stated the following: “Another call is for the AKP candidate. If you are Kurdish, if you are a human being, if you are a believer, if you are a person of this land, do not let yourself be deceived. Do not accept the mandate. Tomorrow you will have to lower your head when you walk among the people of Van, on the streets of Van. Do not stand by the AKP-MHP government that will usurp the will of this people. Kurdish people are honourable. They do not forget those who do good, those who do right and those who are not a tool of conspiracy games. If you want to live with your people in your own region with a conscience, honourably and with your head held high, do not lay hands on to the mayor’s office, which is the right of Abdullah Zeydan and Neslihan Şedal.

The election in Van is being discussed all over Turkey. For the first time, Turkey has formed a great alliance against this unjust and unlawful decision against Van. We convey our thanks to the political parties, leaders, democratic mass organisations, labour and professional organisations who embrace Van and stand behind the will of the people of Van. Be sure that for the first time, the labourers and oppressed people of Turkey are in solidarity with the people of Van in a strong way. Do not worry, you are not alone. The labourers and the poor all over Turkey are with you. Once again, I call out to the AKP government; as long as you usurp the will of this people, you are doomed to lose. On 31 March, you lost. Turn from this wrong path, this is not a right path. It will lead nowhere. Your miscalculations have disappeared here today as they did yesterday."

Speaking after, DEM Party Co-Chair Tülay Hatimoğulları stated the following "While we are speaking here, we are addressing not only you but also 85 million people living in Turkey. The YSK, which approved the candidacy of Abdullah Zeydan, reported a problem with his candidacy 48 hours before the elections, 5 hours before 17.00 on Friday, and this problem is communicated to the AKP and AKP's candidate before it is communicated to the DEM Party. They plotted against us while the elections were still taking place. However, you will foil their conspiracy. We appeal to the YSK; the Provincial Electoral Board has taken this decision with a 2 to 1 vote, that is, with an annotation. This morning, our esteemed lawyers and party officials conducted a study and submitted a very broad objection to the YSK. Until this objection is officially finalised, until our objection is accepted, the DEM Party will continue to put forward a democratic struggle in the strongest way together with our people and continue this struggle until Abdullah mayor is given his mandate.  We held our MYK meeting here in Van today. All of our MYK group, our Party Assembly, and a significant majority of our MPs will remain in Van until this decision is approved positively. We will carry out this struggle together with the people of Van."

After the statement, thousands of people marched towards Van Courthouse where the Provincial Election Board is located.

The police once again attacked the people as they marched along the Maraş Street in the city centre shouting slogans. 

Anti-riot vehicles, gas bombs and rubber bullets were used in the attack and MPs were also targeted. While the public was seriously affected by the intensive use of gas, many protesters were subjected to police violence. Clashes spread to all side streets.