After Turkish news outlets posted videos showing a mayor wandering in the streets of Turkey’s Kurdish-majority city of Ağrı (Agırî) with dozens of armed men, both the mayor and the city’s governor released statements saying that the mayor was fecently subjected to an attempted assault.
Mayor Savcı Sayan, the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the 2019 local election, was elected to the post with a crucial win against the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose candidate had won in the previous 2014 election.
Sayan did not explain why he led a large group of men carrying assault weapons through the streets, and claimed that “all news reports made by biased people and published on alleged media outlets were manufactured.”
“The incident has nothing to do with Ağrı Sports Club, or with the planned visit of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu [the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)] to the city, as it has been claimed.”
“There has recently been an attempted assault by a group of people against my deputy and our employees in Murat neighbourhood where road work was carried out by municipal teams, and I was present at the location during the incident.”
In another statement on Thursday, the governor’s office in Ağrı said that there has been an attempted assault against Sayan on Wednesday.
It said that the ‘physical assault’ was thwarted by the security detail who fired in the air, and eight people were prosecuted over involvement in the assault.
The two statements were followed by a number of allegations against the mayor by the chair of Ağrı Sports Club on Friday.
The chair Mehmet Yıldırım said that the manager of the sports club had been recruited a year ago by the mayor for reporting on a weekly basis to the mayor on the activities and income sources of the club.
He said that the manager, Kerem Adıgüzel, deliberately delayed social security registrations for 16 football players, causing in return eight of these players to file complaints against the club and to unilaterally terminate their contracts.
Several sponsorship agreements in process were averted by Soylu and his team who called the sponsors and convinced them into dropping the agreements.
The fund collected by the mayor’s office on behalf of the sports club was transferred to an account provided by mayor’s deputy Ahmet Tunç, never reaching the hands of the sports club.
Yıldırım also alleged that his brothers were threatened by Tunç who pulled a gun on them in front of their grocery shop, and that the mayor and the large group of armed men subsequently came in front of the grocery shop to intimidate him and prevent him from making his allegations against the mayor public.
He added that the mayor ruled the city despotically and the entire city lived in terror inflicted by the mayor and his men.