ASIA/TURKEY - Purges continue, Turkey removes the only Christian co-mayor

Friday, 18 November 2016 international politics   human rights   area crisis

Mardin (Agenzia Fides) - In the institutions and Turkish political bodies purges ordered by the central government against politicians and officials continue, accused of being supporters of the network of Fethullah Gulen - the Turkish Islamic preacher, an exile in the US, that Ankara indicates as instigator of the failed coup of July 15 - or of the PKK Kurdistan Workers Party. Among the victims of the "purges" wanted by the Turkish government apparatus there is also Februniye Akyol, the first Assyrian Christian to be elected co-mayor in Turkey, in the city of Merdin. Both her and the other co-mayor, the Kurdish Ahmet Turk, were removed and replaced with a "Qayyum" (guardian/Commissioner) appointed by the central government.
The co-mayors were elected co-mayors of Mardin in 2014. Akyol Benno, at the time of her election, was following a master on the Syriac language and culture at the Language Institute of Artuklu University in Mardin. In her speeches and interviews published on Turkish media, the young scholar had declared her intention to support policies to reduce city pollution and desire to fight against domestic violence against women and the patriarchal mentality that dominates the culture of that area.
To date Turkey has removed 30 mayors suspected of having links with the PKK and Fethullah Gülen. The Turkish authorities continue to replace mainly elected mayors in southeast Turkey with "Qayyum". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 18/11/2016)