‘Respect for the Will’ march completed: Protests will continue

The ‘Respect for the Will’ march was completed in Hakkari. DEM Party Co-Chair Tülay Hatimoğulları stated that the will of the Kurdish people was targeted and that the protests would continue.

The ‘Respect for the Will March’, which was started against the usurpation of Hakkari Municipality from the Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) on 3 June by a government-appointed trustee, ended with a press statement on Monday.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of Hakkari Governorate where a press statement was made. DEM Party Co-Chair of Hakkari Provincial Organisation, Hümeyra Armut, thanked the people and said that they will continue to struggle against the usurpation of people’s will.

DEM Party Co-Chair Tülay Hatimoğulları said, "This delegation has been on the road for nine days. People from Istanbul, Tekirdag, Izmir, Izmir, Ankara, Çukurova, Turkey and Kurdistan have travelled from all over the country. They travelled from city to city and came here. We have marched from Van to here without interruption. We had a demand during this 9-day march. Respect for the will. What is will? In a democracy, the will means the people, but in a dictatorship, the will means the palace, one man. What is will? Democracy, justice. But in authoritarian fascist regimes, the will is law enforcement, trustees, replacing those elected with those appointed. We call for respect for the will. In Turkey, the enacting of the right to elect and be elected means recognition of the people’s will at the ballot box.”

Tülay Hatimoğulları recalled Erdoğan's remark that he would respect what came out of the ballot box and said, "But he did not respect what came out of the ballot box as happened in Hakkari. Our elected co-mayor Mehmet Sıddık was sentenced to 19 years in prison, unjustly and unlawfully. Before the decision was made about him, the person who is meant to be standing in the governor's office behind us was appointed by the Ministry of Interior as a trustee to the municipality, that is, instead of the elected. There was no court ruling against him yet when he was ousted. In other words, it was a blatant injustice, a blatant violation of the law. In Kula, Manisa, the mayor was taken into custody and arrested, and in his place, the municipal council member elected the mayor. What did we do in Hakkari? Our municipal council met and elected Viyan Tekçe as acting mayor. What needs to be done now is the official appointment of Viyan Tekçe as our mayor, but they are not doing this."

Remarking that they had been in action since the usurpation, Tülay Hatimoğulları said: "In Istanbul, which is a quarter of Turkey in terms of population and economy, our vigil for our municipalities and respect for the will continues with the participation of all the forces of democracy. During the 9-day march, people did not stop walking in the heat that melted the asphalt. Those in the palace and the governor, that is, the appointed trustee, should see the will and determination of the people. You cannot replace the elected with the appointed. The constitution expresses clearly how one can get elected, judged dismissed and replaced by whom.”

Tülay Hatimoğulları stated that what this government is doing is a violation of the will of the Kurdish people and continued, "By violating the will of the Hakkari people, it is also violating the Constitution. Therefore, we say here once again that the Constitution must be implemented. The conventions to which Turkey is a party must be implemented. Turkey is bound by the Charter of Local Self-Government and should act accordingly. It must act in accordance with the Venice Protocol. These trustees appointed today are not only a crime according to the laws in Turkey, but also against the European conventions to which Turkey is a party. We shout once again from here. We claim our will. The trustee should be withdrawn immediately, Viyan Tekçe should be appointed as acting mayor immediately. We will continue our actions and activities against those who disrespect our will today as we did yesterday, not only as the DEM Party, but also with all democracy forces in Turkey and all segments in favour of justice and rights."

Tülay Hatimoğulları concluded: "There were reactions against the trustee from all over Turkey. Because this problem is not only a problem of the Kurds. This problem is not only Hakkari's problem, not only the DEM Party's problem. The appointment of a trustee means that our right to elect and be elected, which is the minimum condition of democracy, is taken away from us. It means that other municipalities are not safe either. We invite everyone to respect the will of the people in Turkey. We are ending our march here today with this press statement, but only this march. Our vigils will continue. Our protests and actions demanding respect for people’s will continue all over Turkey, as will our struggle with our friendly organisations, those in favour of democracy and human rights, those who respect and defend the right to elect and be elected.”