Trustee has Kurdish street signs painted over in Batman

The trustee of the former HDP-led Kurdish city Batman has had the Kurdish version of the street signs "pedestrians first" painted over with the Turkish version.

In the province of Batman, Kurdish versions of the street signs "pedestrians first" (Kurd. "pêşî peya") have been painted over with the Turkish version by order of the trustee. The TZP-Kurdî (Movement for Kurdish Education and Language) describes the procedure as "hostility towards the Kurdish language" and demands an end to discriminatory arbitrary measures by the trustees.

The Kurdish language street signs were one of many projects of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the multicultural city, which has a Kurdish population of about 90 percent. At the end of March, the legitimately elected co-mayors Songül Korkmaz and Mehmet Demir were removed from office at the instigation of the Turkish Ministry of the Interior. Since then, an administrative official of the AKP government has been sitting in their place as a trustee in the town hall - and is gradually dismantling the achievements of the democratic opposition.

New road signs, exclusively in Turkish

In many places the Kurdish language signs on the streets of Batman were painted over directly. Elsewhere, only the faded colours of the Turkish language signs were renewed.

Old references in Kurdish and Turkish

Only twelve HDP mayors still in office

Of the 65 Kurdish municipalities that were won by the HDP in the elections on 31 March 2019, 45 are now administered by state-appointed trustees. Arrest warrants have been issued for more than two dozen elected mayors, 18 of whom are still in prison. In six municipalities, the elected mayors were not even able to take office because the election committee refused to recognise them. In their place, the defeated AKP candidates were brought to office, who repeatedly make a name for themselves through robbery and corruption. The HDP itself initiated impeachment proceedings against two mayors. This leaves only twelve in total in office.