What is going on in Diyarbakir Municipality?

Governors and government-appointed officials have been marked by corruption in Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality. Officials related to Soylu, Erdoğan, Albayrak and Ağar are struggling for power in the municipality.

Employees of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality, which is run by government-appointed trustees, are not only guilty of corruption, but also contribute to prostitution in the city.

Amed Metropolitan Municipality had been run by the HDP (and its predecessors), receiving more than 60 percent of the votes in local elections since 1999. However, it has been run by government-appointed trustees since 2016 (except for 4 months). Knowing that they are not permanent, trustees do not carry out any public service for the benefit of society and their governance has been marked by corruption.

In the past, there were reports that Ercan Bircan, deputy secretary general of the municipality, was involved in corruption. Inspection reports revealed that there were nearly 5.5 million Turkish liras of corruption within the municipality in 2017-2018, which led to legal procedures.

Ercan Bircan, who was dismissed due to corruption during the HDP period and was reappointed as the deputy secretary general by trustee-mayor Münir Karaloğlu, was arrested following the official complaint made by Mehmet Kesen, head of youth and sports department. Bircan was accused of ‘blackmailing’ Kesen over some pictures.

It is reported that the tension between Bircan and Kesen was based on a rivalry to get a share from a public tender. When Bircan was refused by Kesen to be a partner in a public tender, Bircan sent some pictures of Kesen taken by a municipality worker to blackmail him. Bircan requested money and a share from the tender from Kesen. Thereupon, Kesen revealed the blackmail against him to governor and trustee-mayor Münir Karaloğlu.

The trustee told Kesen to pay a small amount of money for the worker who took pictures and to record everything. Subsequently, trustee-mayor Karaloğlu reported the incident to the intelligence service in the city and requested an investigation. After the intelligence report confirming Kesen's statements, the trustee-mayor told Kesen to file an official complaint with the prosecutor's office. Kesen went to the prosecutor's office and told the prosecutor that he was close to the trustee-mayor. Although the prosecutor initially hesitated to take care of the case, he decided to open the file after learning that Kesen was Soylu's man. Bircan has been under arrest since 7 April 2022 pending trial.

Bircan is also claimed to be related to Mehmet Ağar, a controversial former police chief and minister of Justice. While Bircan, who is close to Ağar and to President Erdoğan, was in prison, Kesen was appointed to his previous position in Kocaeli and Karaloğlu was dismissed from the municipality and appointed as the Chief Civil Inspector. In the meantime, the replacement of Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Yavuz by Mustafa Çelenk during the period when corruption was investigated stemmed from the tensions between Interior Minister Soylu and his rivals.

Ali İhsan Su replaced trustee-mayor Münir Karaloğlu. It is known that Karaloğlu is linked to the president's son, Bilal Erdoğan’s TÜGVA, and close to Berat Albayrak. It is reported that Soylu has Ercan Bircan by the tail and will use him in his future dirty work. Soylu also ordered to replace Kesen, Chief Prosecutor Yavuz and Karaloğlu and promised to release Bircan in a short time.