Young Syriac student to partner Ahmet Türk as Mardin’s co-mayor
Only 25-years-old, Februniye Akyol Benno, is set to become the first Syriac mayor of a big southeastern city.
Ahmet Türk, one of the most high-profile and experienced figures in Kurdish politics, has been elected as the new mayor of his hometown Mardin in the local polls.
But Türk will not carry the weight of office alone. In an apparent attempt to balance his “old fox” attributes, Türk’s partner will be a young woman, still a student, from the city’s small but deeply–rooted Syriac community.
Only 25-years-old, Februniye Akyol Benno, is set to become the first Syriac mayor of a big southeastern city. She is currently studying a masters in Syriac at the Living Languages Institute of Mardin’s Artuklu University. She also knows Kurdish, Arabic, English as well as Hebrew, which allows her to communicate with all the communities living in the town.
Akyol told online news website Bianet that she would endeavor to reduce the ecological damage in the historic city, which is trying to enter the UNESCO World Heritage List.
She also added that she wanted to “fight against patriarchy.”
“We will demolish the male-dominated system. We will create women cooperatives and associations. We will not only create refuges for victims of domestic violence, but they will be living places,” Akyol told Bianet.
Somewhat unnoticed under the imposing shadow of Türk, Akyol’s election adds freshness and novelty to a region where the grip of tradition is strong.