Mızraklı: I call to international public opinion to take concrete steps against the seizure of the election rights of Kurds in Turkey

4 November 2019.

TO INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC OPINION

I  am  writing  this  letter  to  you  as  the  Mayor  of  Diyarbakır,  who  was  elected  on  the  local elections  in  March  31,  2019  with  62.9%  of  the  votes;  however  dismissed  on  August  19, replaced with an appointed trustee; and finally arrested on October 22, 2019.

One of Turkey's trustee appointed 95 HDP municipalities as of 2016; we got back Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality on 31 March 2019 local elections and started to build up the local democracy once again.

However, only 4 months later the central government have appointed a  trustee once  again  and  unlawfully  seized  the  local  administrations  of  Diyarbakir,  Mardin and Van provinces that it could not succeed to gain through elections. This coup, which was addressed to local democracy on 19 August 2019, has been directly against Kurds' right to vote and to be elected, contrary to the perception of 'terror' that the AKP government tries to create in public opinion. The seizure of local people’ will was not a reasoned decision of law, but a clear statement that the Kurds cannot elect the people who will rule the cities in which they live.

This  repression  policy,  imposed  only  because  of  our  Kurdish  identity  brings  with  it  an enormous legal freak. The AKP government, which violates Article 127 of the Constitution, which binds the dismissal of mayors to offenses only related to their duties, dismissed us for prosecutions and investigations that were not related with our duty and based on the unlawful amendments  made  on  the  Law  on  Municipalities  nr.  5393  through  a  government  decree during the State of Emergency (OHAL) process. In fact, the trustee assignment letters were already  prepared  only  one  day  after  the  elections,  on  April  1,  2019,  when  we  even  didn't receive our election certificates.

Turkey is going through a massacre of the judiciary. Presumption of innocence has long been an exception. For instance, one of the reasons why I was arrested on 22 October 2019 is a fiction  statement  given  on  March  20,  2019  (just  11  days  before  the  local  elections),  by  a confessor  named  H.B.A.,  who  was  arrested  in  May  2016  in  Nusaybin  district  of Mardin.   Although  H.B.A.  was  under  arrest  during  3  years,  she  made  a  confession  on  20 March 2019 in order to benefit from the remorse law by claiming that I operated a 'member of an illegal organisation' in a night shift, cut off his intestines and discharged him in the same morning in the hospital where I worked as a surgeon. Aside from the lack of such an event, the person named HBA claims to have heard about it from a 'friend'. Therefore, neither such a surgery  nor  a  witness  is  existed.  Again,  as  I  did  not  have  a  night  shift  as  a  surgeon  at the mentioned dates, as a doctor of almost 40 years, I would say that it is against medicine to have a  critical  surgery  such  as  cutting  the  intestines  at  night  and  discharge  the  patient  on  the morning or let him to leave the hospital on foot. The person named H.B.A., who made it clear that  she  made  confessions  over  a  sensation  and  rumour,  was  released  from  the  prison  in September  2019  thanks  to  this  'confession'  she  made  while  being  tried  in  heavy  life imprisonment. The confession given by the same person in 2017 on two other people claiming that  they  are  members  of  an  illegal  organization  was  rejected  by  another  court  as 'disreputable'. However, the false statements of that person are accepted as evidences for the political personalities like us.

Another reason for my arrest is my participation  in the activities of the political party HDP that I am a member of HDP is the third largest party in Turkey with 6 million voters and it cannot be a crime to participate in the activities of a political party. On June 24, 2018, I was elected as a member of parliament from the HDP. In 2019, I left the seat of parliament after my election as Mayor of Diyarbakir. However, the investigations initiated against me during my  term  as  a  deputy  have  been  put  forward  as  a  reason  for  my  removal  from  the  mayor's office. Neither the political party activities of a deputy who has the parliamentary immunity, nor a political party employee or an ordinary citizen can be regarded as a crime in any country that defines itself as democratic, except Turkey!

The investigation files of the other co-mayors, who have been suspended and replaced with the trustees, also include baseless allegations. Even the participation in the press statements, which  are  the  simplest  party  activities,  has  been  considered  as  a  crime  and  ground  for detention. The false news published in the pro-government press which targets us are used as ‘evidence' in the case files. All kinds of disinformation are considered legitimate in order to legitimize the trustee appointments in public. As of 19 August 2019, the AKP government's ministry  of  interior  have  appointed  trustees  to  15  HDP  municipalities  (Diyarbakır,  Van, Mardin, Kulp, Karayazı, Nusaybin, Hakkari, Yüksekova, Kocaköy, Kayapınar, Bismil, Erciş, Cizre,  Saray,  Kızıltepe)  and  12  municipal  co-mayors  of  these  municipalities  have  been imprisoned.  

I am one of my numerous comrades and political prisoners who have been imprisoned during this process that the presumption of innocence is violated. When I was arrested, I was left in a solitary cell for the first three days. Then I was sent to Kayseri prison, which is far away from my family, with the women co-mayors of Kayapınar and Kocaköy municipalities who were arrested  on  the  same day  as  me.  Prisons  are  torture  places  without  rights  and  law.  The political prisoners here are under  heavy pressure. I know that we will be deprived of even the most innocent human rights in these places where there are intense violations of rights. Justice does not go beyond being a word that adorns the walls of the courts in this country. The entire justice system is in the service of a single political party.

 As  an  elected  mayor  and  politician  in  a  prison,  I  call  international  public  opinion,  rights organizations  and  democratic  dynamics  to  take  concrete  steps  against  the  seizure  of  the election rights of Kurds in Turkey, to raise their voices to remove the pressure on opponent political parties and movements, and, to struggle for the establishment of justice.   

Dr. Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı 

Mayor of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality

4 November 2019.

Bünyan Prison, Kayseri, Turkey