Knape: Basic rules of democracy not complied with in Turkey
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe demanded that Turkey urgently obey the recommendation adopted by Congress in 2017 on the election of a new mayor.
Anders Knape, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, wrote an article for the Dagens Arena magazine in Sweden about the recent developments and the current situation in Turkey.
In an article published on the same magazine, titled “Swedish municipal politicians, where is your solidarity?”, journalist and writer Kurdo Baksi and Murat Kuseyri criticized the local politicians who remained silent on Turkish AKP regime’s removal of co-mayors of HDP-run Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van metropolitan municipalities and the arrest of hundreds of municipal employees from the HDP.
In the mentioned article, Baksi and Kuseyri asked Knape; “Why do you betray elected municipal politicians arbitrarily dismissed in Turkey? Have you stopped spelling the word solidarity?”
Anders Knape responded to the criticism with his article titled “Turkey issue not forgotten” in which he said that “the issue is by no means forgotten by the local and regional politicians in the Council of Europe's member states, including Sweden.”
Knape wrote the following;
“Developments in Turkey are deeply worrying; the basic rules of democracy are not complied with as a result of the principles of the rule of law being compromised. Unfortunately, the latest election did not mean a fresh start for the country in terms of democracy. Turkey is one of the countries with the most deposed politically elected politicians and detained journalists.
I have followed Turkey for a long time as a reporter for the Council of Europe's local and regional assembly. In 2009, I visited Leyla Güven, then mayor of Viransehir, in the Diyarbakir prison on several occasions. She was arrested in 2016, along with several other mayors and administrators.
Turkey has been using arrests for a long time. Leyla Güven, who was also a member of the parliament, became a symbol for elected representatives who were denied the right to carry out their elected office because of deprivation of liberty. The collective case in which Leyla Güven was, comprised of 175 persons. Unfortunately, it has not ceased after the last election. Mayors in southeastern Turkey, Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van have now been replaced by governors, that is, state officials. As chairman of the Congress, I publicly stated just over two weeks ago how deeply worried the Congress is for Turkey to continue to reject elected politicians. The politicians concerned were elected by the citizens in free and properly conducted elections on March 31 this year.
It is important to emphasize that the Council of Europe cannot comment on the allegations against individuals. However, the Congress has on several occasions pointed out that it is deeply concerned about the number of legal processes against local politicians. The scope is such that it undermines local democracy both before and after the last election.
The Congress demands that Turkey urgently obey the recommendation adopted by Congress in 2017 on the election of a new mayor. It should be the opinion of every working democracy that elections can be made when a person, in these cases the municipal council, is unable to fulfill his mission.
The Congress board follows the situation of the detainees elected in Turkey. The Congress plans to visit Turkey in October to implement an on-site illustration of how the country lives up to the local self-government charter. The issue is by no means forgotten by the local and regional politicians in the member countries of the Council of Europe, which includes Sweden.”