Ankara, September 16, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Manolis Kostidis
Erdogan dismisses elected Mayors, Öcalan calls for the resolution of the issue
There is great upheaval in southeastern Turkey after the Turkish government’s decision to dismiss 28 elected mayors and appoint in their positions commissioners who will govern their municipalities! 24 of the mayors are being accused of their relations with the PKK and 4 others of having affiliation with Gulen’s order, which in Turkey is considered a terrorist organization. The commissioners who will run the municipalities are members of the Interior Ministry and were appointed mayors in two cities, 24 provinces and 2 villages. The two cities are Hakkari and Batman. All these regions have in their majority Kurdish population and the mayors were elected with rates ranging from 65 up to 95%!
The pro-Kurdish HDP party argues that this decision “will cause the escalation of problems in the Kurdish cities. There is no difference between the perception with which on July 15 the National Assembly was bombed, that is the popular will, and the perception with which the will of the people is being violated in the municipalities”.
The Turkish government claims that the particular mayors helped the PKK in various ways, even using the resources of their municipalities.
The taking down of Kurdish signs in the municipalities and the cries with Turkish slogans in the villages, cause tension in the Kurdish population in the region and experienced political analysts believe that the Turkish Government should be cautious with subsequent moves to prevent further increase of tension in the region. Already, battles between members of the PKK and the Turkish army is a daily phenomenon.
The Ocalan calls for the resolution of the Kurdish issue
In an effort to balance the situation, Ankara allowed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan to meet with his relatives on the island of Imrali, where he remains incarcerated since 1999. In the last six months no one had visited him. Ocalan sent a message to the Turkish government and said that “we have some plans. We did not stop the settlement process (for the Kurdish issue). If the state is ready let it send two officials on the island of Imrali to resolve the issue within six months. This is a blind war”.
The US calls for direct local elections
The US Embassy in Ankara immediately expressed concern about developments and clashes between security forces and demonstrators protesting the removal of those mayors and had called for “early elections to elect their successors”.
Ankara’s reaction came swiftly, with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu directly attacking the US and saying “no one is the boss of Turkey. The ambassadors should not behave as Turkish rulers and must correctly execute their work”.
Turkey fears the example of the Kurds of Syria
However, the targeting of the Kurds and the deposing of mayors has to do with fears of Ankara on developments in Syria and the Kurds in the region who have already created two cantons near the Turkish border.
This is considered the main reason that Turkey invaded within Syria to prevent the creation of a single Kurdish autonomous region. At this point however, there is disagreement with the US, as the Americans ask Turkey to focus on combating the “Islamic State” in Syria, while they considers the PYD (organization of the Syrian Kurds) an ally in the battle against the jihadists.
But Ankara characterizes the PYD as a “terrorist” organization and reports that have direct relations with the PKK. State officials regard as a bad example the local autonomous government created in Syria and expressed concerns about the control of the south-east municipalities by Kurdish mayors. Almost all political analysts agree that the appointment of commissioners to the municipalities may give temporary solutions, but does not help, on the contrary it magnifies the Kurdish problem.
However, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear that Turkey’s priority is the fight against the terrorism of the PKK, the Islamic State and FETO (Fethullah terrorist organization)
Embassies of Great Britain and Germany have been temporarily closed for security reasons
Within this atmosphere, heads where turned by the decision of the British Embassy and Germany to close their embassies in Turkey for security reasons, causing fears of a possible terrorist attack in the country. The German newspaper Bild claims that diplomatic missions and German schools in Turkey remain closed for fear of a possible attack.