The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) won 105 municipalities in local elections on 11 September 2014. The Turkish Interior Ministry appointed trustees to 95 HDP municipalities in 2016.
The HDP won 65 municipalities again in the 31 March 2019 local elections. However, the trustee appointment policy of the Turkish government continued.
The number of appointed trustees rose by 52 after the last trustee appointment to the Kars municipality. The number rose again with the blocking of election certifications and resignations.
A trustee was appointed to the HDP Kars municipality and 19 people were detained in operations held on 1 October in Turkey.
After the appointments, HDP has only five municipalities remaining: the Kömür district of Adıyaman; the Patnos district of Ağrı (Agirî); the Çınar district of Diyarbakır (Amed); and the Silopi and Balveren districts of Şırnak (Şirnex).
According to the HDP’s Trustee Report, the HDP had won three metropolitan municipalities, five provinces, 45 districts and 12 towns, while 1,230 municipality assembly members and 101 provincial assembly members were elected from HDP election lists.
The Supreme Committee of Elections (YSK) did not approve six HDP mayors’ election certificates because they were exported due to the decree law. As a consequence, the mayors of the Kozluk and Bekirhan districts of Batman resigned.
The Turkish government appointed trustees to Diyarbakır (Amed), Van (Wan) and Mardin (Merdin) metropolitan municipalities all at once on 19 August 2019, months after the local elections.
The government also appointed trustees to the Iğdır, Batman, Siirt (Sert) and Hakkari (Colemerg) province municipalities.
Millions spent on gifts and accommodation
After trustee appointments, Mustafa Yaman, the governor of Mardin city, was appointed as a trustee for the second time to the Mardin municipality, and Ahmet Türk, the mayor of the HDP Mardin municipality, was removed.
As governor of Diyarbakır, Hasan Basri Güzeloğlu was appointed to the Diyarbakır municipality and Mehmet Emin Bilmez was appointed to the Van municipality. On the trustee expenditure lists there were many curious items.
According to Deutsche Welle’s report, it was revealed that trustee Mustafa Yaman bought a gift of jewellery for the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other ministers of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), costing 600,000 Turkish lira (TL).
Former Mardin co-mayor Ahmet Türk said they had many bills that prove the trustee’s spending on gifts.
Apart from gifts, it was also revealed that the Mardin trustee spent two million lira on accommodation.
Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality was ruled by the trustee until the 2019 local election. HDP member Selçuk Mızraklı won the election and became the co-mayor of the municipality.
When he joined the municipality administration, he revealed that the trustee spent 92,000 lira on gifts and bought one tonne of sweets (Kadayıf). The municipality’s budget was used for gifts, sweets and luxury expenses. The trustee even had a luxury bathroom built for himself in the municipality’s chair room.
Mızraklı was arrested and detained over the accusations of “membership of a terror organisation”. Before the last arrests, 23 HDP co-mayors were imprisoned, and the number has only increased after the arrests of 25 September.