Southeastern town elects 27-year-old female candidate for mayor
Leyla İmret was five years old when she left her hometwon after witnessing her father’s death.At only 27, Leyla İmret was selected as the new mayor of Cizre in the southeastern province of Şırnak, becoming one of the youngest mayors to serve the country with a record 83 percent of the vote.
Born in the town, which lies near the Syrian border, İmret was five years old when she witnessed her father’s death. The family then first moved to the coastal city of Mersin before settling in Germany.
Despite growing up in Europe, İmret decided to return to her hometown and step into politics and was presented as a co-mayor candidate from the ranks of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
She says her decision was motivated after she visited her father’s tomb in Cizre for the first time after 22 years.
Together with the BDP’s co-candidate Kadir Konur, İmret has achieved the difficult task of becoming one of the strongest-backed mayors in a man’s world.
İmret says her task now is to become a bridge between the border town, where tensions are recurrent, and Europe.
But İmret is not the only young and female candidate boldly promoted by the BDP in southeastern Turkey, where the patriarchal system is much stronger compared to the Western parts of Turkey.
In Diyarbakır’s Lice province, another young co-candidate, 25-year-old student Rezan Zuğurli has been selected mayor with 91 percent of votes.
The BDP and its sister party, the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) have been sensitive about the issue of nominating women, adopting the formula of presenting co-mayors in many of the constituencies where they took part in the race.