Elected mayor of Turkish city Suddenly “unelectable”, candidate Erdogan’s party receives sash

Elected mayor of Turkish city Suddenly “unelectable”, candidate Erdogan’s party receives sash
Elected mayor of Turkish city Suddenly “unelectable”, candidate Erdogan’s party receives sash

Not Abdullah Zeydan, but Abdulahat Arvas may become mayor of the Turkish city of Van. However, Zeydan, from the pro-Kurdish Dem Party, won last Sunday’s municipal elections with 55.5 percent of the votes in the eastern city of Van.

Yet Zeydan will not become mayor. The High Electoral Council (YSK) has declared Zeydan ineligible at the request of the Ministry of Justice. The Election Council has decided to hand over the mayoralty to the candidate with the second highest number of votes, in this case Abdulahat Arvas, the candidate of the ruling AKP. He received 27.5 percent of the votes.

The Turkish Ministry of Justice filed an application to revoke Zeydan’s acquired rights. The man was sentenced to more than eight years in 2016 for “involvement in” and “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. He was released in 2023 after the Court of Cassation overturned his sentence.


After his release, he regained the right to vote and stand for election. The Supreme Electoral Council had examined and approved Zeydan’s candidacy.

Zeydan says he followed legal procedures properly when he submitted his application to the Supreme Electoral Council. His lawyer Mahsuni Karaman: “The current situation suggests this (this decision, ed.) was pre-planned.” Karaman also says he and his client will take legal action against the Supreme Electoral Council’s decision.

“This must be reversed immediately. This initiative, which ignores the will of the people of Van, is unlawful,” the Dem party said in a statement. She added that she had not been given the right to challenge the ruling. The party called on the citizens of Van to take to the streets en masse. Images circulating on social media show that things are chaotic in the city. Police used water cannon to push back the crowd.

Also in Diyerbakir

Also in Diyerbakir, in the southeast of the country, the newly elected mayor Serra Bucak Küçük (Dem) was told that she cannot start her mayoralty because the AKP has filed an objection.

Turkey has been cracking down on pro-Kurdish political movements since the collapse of peace talks in 2015 to end a decades-long insurgency. The pro-Kurdish movements are accused of having links with Kurdish militants from, for example, the PKK, which Turkey and Europe label as a terrorist organization – Belgium does not.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party performed exceptionally poorly in last weekend’s municipal elections. Many cities that voted for his party for years opted this time for the largest opposition party CHP or the pro-Kurdish Dem party. Although Erdogan appeared to admit his loss during his speech on Sunday night, the AKP has questioned the vote counts in several places.

The article is in Dutch


Tags: Elected mayor Turkish city Suddenly unelectable candidate Erdogans party receives sash


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