Government refuses to appoint pro-Kurdish candidate elected to Van mayor’s office. Interview / DUVAR ENGLISH

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In an interview with Gazete Duvar, DEM Party’s elected mayor of eastern Van province, Abdullah Zeydan, confronted AKP’s candidate, whom the government sought to appoint despite receiving one third of DEM’s votes, asking, “How will you attend weddings and condolences? How will we look face to face each other? »

Duvar English, April 3, 2024, by Didem Mercan

The Van provincial electoral board in eastern Turkey has rescinded pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party candidate Abdullah Zeydan’s victory in the mayoral elections by taking away his right to be elected and presented the metropolitan municipality to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate.

Zeydan won the Van metropolitan municipality with co-candidate Neslihan Şedal by an overwhelming 55.48% of the votes against the AKP’s candidature who merely received 27.15 percent.

Here is Zeydan’s exclusive interview with the Gazete Duvar:

THERE IS NO FINALIZED DECISION: « The process is not finalized. In other words, the decision to present the municipality to the AKP candidate is not final. Despite the objection of (members of) the Van Provincial Election Board and the president of the court, two other members (of the local board) decided on this direction. We have the right to appeal this decision to the Supreme Election Council (YSK) within three days. We are preparing our objections.”

WE ARE FACED WITH A TRAP: « There is an attempt to overthrow the will of the people, to eliminate the will of the people, to ambush and trap the will of the people. During this whole campaign process, the YSK accepted my candidacy. I have been campaigning for three months, and the YSK itself has decided that there is no obstacle to my qualification for election. We faced a conspiracy and a trap after we won the elections. »

THE LEGAL PROCESS JUSTIFYING THE JUDGEMENT: “I was previously convicted of a criminal offense, yet the execution of this conviction is over now. The 3-year period required for the restitution of the prohibited rights has also passed. I applied to the court and it decided to restore the prohibited rights about a year ago. However, this decision was not enough to qualify for election and it also needed to be finalized. As the prosecutor’s office did not object and did not appeal the court’s ruling, the decision has been finalized throughout this process.”

THE COURT SENT THE ‘FINALIZATION’ DECISION: “After the verdict was finalized, Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court sent a letter stating that my rights had been restored and that this should be recorded in my criminal record. Now, until the elections, everything went smoothly in this legal process. Before the local elections, I submitted all the documents to the provincial electoral board regarding the qualification for election.”

THE HIGH ELECTION BOARD ACCEPTED MY CANDIDACY: “In my application for candidacy, I submitted both the court decision, the decision on the restoration of the rights, and my criminal record certificate along with the court’s note. YSK accepted my candidacy. In any case, if there was a deficiency, the provincial electoral board would not have accepted my candidature. YSK included my candidacy in the list, published it, and asked if anyone had any objection. No one objected. YSK decided that there were no obstacles to qualification for election and wrote my name on the ballot paper. »

I WON THE ELECTION WITH 55 PERCENT: “I entered the elections and our people in Van embraced us with a high vote rate. We won in 13 out of 13 district municipalities (in Van). In the metropolitan municipality, we won with 55.5 percent, with a difference of 130,000 votes. While everything was going well, we learned that at 16.55 on March 29, the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office made a rejection (against my candidacy) based on a letter from the General Directorate of Judicial Records.”

DEM wins 13 out of 13 districts in the eastern Van province and the metropolitan municipality. (Screenshot from the Anadolu Agency)

THIS EXCUSE IS COMPLETELY AGAINST THE LAW: “The prosecutor’s office argued that the court did not notify them regarding its ruling on the restoration of the prohibited rights. The Justice Ministry has the right to apply for reversal in favor of the law in finalized decisions. The ministry could send a request in this regard and the court would reevaluate it. Alternatively, the court could have told the chief prosecutor’s office that the decision on the request was finalized and that it could be taken to the Court of Cassation for appeal. However, the court canceled the judgment on the pretext that the prosecutor’s office had not been notified.”

WE APPEALED, BUT THERE IS A POLITICAL INSTRUCTION HERE: « The court accepted the request of the prosecutor’s office, and the same court, which had granted me my civil rights a year ago, canceled its previous decision with an additional ruling. Afterward, the AKP immediately requested the provincial election board on March 31 evening to give the municipality to them. We learned about this on April 1. Two members and the chair of the provincial election board put a reservation on AKP’s objection and rejected it. However, the other two members decide to give the municipality to the AKP candidate. Even though our lawyers are appealing this decision, there is a political instruction here.”

WE WILL PROTECT THE HONOR OF EACH 245,000 VOTES: “This is a matter of not recognizing the will of the people and ignoring the will of the nation. No person living in Turkey with a conscience, in favor of democracy, in favor of justice, in favor of social peace, in favor of law would accept this. Therefore, the people of Van do not accept this either, they protect their will. We will do whatever it takes to protect the honor, will, and dignity of each of the 245,000 votes we receive.”

I AM SURE HE IS NOW MAKING A CONSCIENTIOUS ACCOUNTING: “We appeal to both the opposition and the people with a conscience within the AKP. With what face will the AKP candidate, who received almost three times fewer votes than us, sit in that seat? I am sure he is now also doing conscientious accounting.”

PEOPLE WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS CONSPIRACY: “The AKP always uses the phrase ‘the will of the people.’ Then, respect the will of the people of Van, the will of the nation. They organized a massive conspiracy, yet the people will not accept this. No one with a conscience will accept it.”

POLITICIANS RAISED THEIR VOICES, THIS IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT: “Today, the opposition must raise its voice together against this unlawfulness towards us, and all segments of Turkey in favor of justice must object to this. CHP Chair Özgür Özel, TİP Chair Erkan Baş, and representatives of other political parties have collectively stated that they consider this as a political ambush and that they expect Erdoğan, who said ‘We will respect the will of the people,’ to fulfill his promise. This political coup attempt against the honor of the people must be prevented.”

HOW WILL WE LOOK FACE TO FACE IN THE FUTURE?: “This process can be continued tomorrow against different parts of Turkey. We invite everyone, especially the ruling party candidate and its representatives, to common sense. They drank the water and breathed the air in Van, they owe this people. The will and honor of so many people cannot be trampled on. The other candidate should also put his hand on his conscience. How will we look face to face each other? With what spirit will you appear in front of the people? »

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