AKP mayor in Bingöl refuses to let women hold positions at municipal council
BİNGÖL – Doğan News Agency
Mayor Yücel Barakazi’s comments have been interpreted as an attempt to prevent Nurten Ertuğrul, elected after topping the AKP’s list of running candidates for the municipal council, from being granted the position of deputy mayor. AA PhotoThe new mayor of the eastern town of Bingöl, elected in last week’s local elections from the ranks of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has refused to let women elected to the local municipal council hold positions of responsibility on religious grounds.
Mayor Yücel Barakazi’s comments have been interpreted as an attempt to prevent Nurten Ertuğrul, elected after topping the AKP’s list of running candidates for the municipal council, from being granted the position of deputy mayor.
According to Turkish legislation, mayors of towns that are not metropolitan municipalities choose one or several deputies, according to the population of the locality, to become members of the local municipal council. These are typically members of the same party as the candidate who topped the party’s list at the elections.
Barakazi has been reported as saying that he “would not assign any women for the deputy mayor post,” adding that this was acceptable on neither moral nor religious grounds, and that society “would not accept it.”
Following his comments, Ertuğrul announced her immediate resignation from the municipal council, slamming the new mayor for his attitude.
“It is completely contradictory to make women work throughout the election campaign day and night - without caring about social, religious or moral rules - and then putting forward all kinds of excuses to keep them in the background. No one should impose this on us for the sake of religion,” Ertuğrul said, stressing that 65 percent of women in the town, which is known for its conservative mentality, voted for the AKP.
“It is not right for a mayor who received 65 percent of women’s votes to talk like this. I was elected with the support of women. Therefore, I have resigned from my municipal membership, hoping that no women with pride and dignity in the party will keep silent on this,” she said.
AKP Deputy Chair Çelik critical of woman
AKP Deputy Chair and party spokesman Hüseyin Çelik criticized Ertuğrul, saying that her resignation “does not bode well for the party.” Çelik also said Mayor Barakazi has told him that he has never used quotes about not assigning women attributed to him in the media.
Women comprise a quarter of the 20-seat municipal council, with three members from the AKP and two from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
A former bureaucrat, Barakazi replaced his predecessor Serdar Atalay, who was not selected by the AKP at the elections.
Bingöl is one of the AKP’s few fortresses in the east and southeast, where the region’s major force, the BDP, wins municipalities and garners a majority of Kurdish votes.
The region traditionally has a stronger patriarchal system compared to the west of the country, but the BDP has recently adopted the counterintuitive strategy of selecting co-mayors in constituencies where it participated in the race.