Court halts Bolu municipality’s controversial policies
A court has issued a stay of execution regarding a series of controversial policies adopted by the municipality of northwestern province of Bolu.
In November, the municipality’s council approved proposals which introduced a tenfold fee for the water bills and a 100,000 Turkish Lira (around $7,500) weeding fee for foreigners living in Bolu.
Following the municipality’s decision, three lawyers appealed to an administrative court in Bolu demanding the cancellation of the policies.
After reviewing the request, the court rule granted a stay of execution regarding the controversial plans.
Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), is well-known for his anti-migrant stance.
When he defended the proposal for the weeding fee, Özcan said, “We do not want foreigners to settle in Bolu and raise their children here. We are doing this to prevent two more Syrians or two more Iraqis from getting married here.”
Özcan also claimed that the citizens of the Republic of Turkey and foreigners cannot have the same rights in the country.
“The principle of equality mentioned in the constitution is valid for the citizens of the Republic of Turkey,” he argued.
His comments were faced with strong backlash from the public.
Özcan said last month that he sued 2,000 people for insulting him on social media. “Those comments targeting me are not even criticism; they amount to slurs. And a majority of those are not even living in Bolu, they are from other parts of the country, for instance from the provinces of Rize and Balıkesir,” the mayor said.
Özcan was elected as Bolu mayor with 44 percent of the votes in the 2019 local elections.