HDP co-chair slams urgent expropriation decision as ‘punishment’

HDP co-chair slams urgent expropriation decision as ‘punishment’

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
HDP co-chair slams urgent expropriation decision as ‘punishment’

AA photo

The government’s “urgent expropriation” decision over four badly damaged southeastern cities amounts to “punishment” of locals for their “disobedience,” Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ has said. 

“This is a policy to destroy dissidents along with the cities they live in. The residents of those districts and provinces are guilty of only one thing: Not obeying the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] or the palace [the presidential palace in Ankara], and advocating for Kurdish identity without any concessions,” Yüksekdağ said during her address to the HDP’s parliamentary group on April 12. 

She warned against the legal implications of the related omnibus bill set to be brought to parliament, claiming that it will prevent citizens from objecting to the urgent expropriation decision and will allow the government to “usurp” people’s right to appeal to court. 

“When this bill is approved, they will be able to seize not only Sur but anywhere they want. Today, they pass this bill for Sur but next they will put it into force for a neighborhood in Ankara or a highland meadow in the Black Sea,” the HDP co-chair added.

The decision only serves the interests of the AKP government, not the public interest, Yüksekdağ also said, slamming it as a “means to get unearned income.” 

“The AKP’s financiers are already in the line for Sur [a central district in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır],” Yüksekdağ said. 

The government recently revealed plans to demolish and rebuild a number of districts in the region, including Sur, badly damaged by clashes between militants and the Turkish security forces. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu previously cited Spain’s reconstruction of the historic town Toledo as an example for Sur. 

The AKP plans to demolish and rebuild a total of 2,700 houses in Cizre, in a project that is estimated to cost around 4 billion Turkish liras ($1.3 billion). 

An attorney from Şırnak’s bar association, Serkan Öskan, said a number of local citizens had appealed to lawyers out of fear of “unjust treatment.” He claimed that the demolition of damaged buildings without initially preparing a plan regarding their reconstruction was “unlawful.”

“Nobody knows about the plans of the buildings that will replace the demolished ones. So there is a chaotic situation in place. People need to be informed about this [urban transformation] project,” Öskan said. 

Meanwhile, a decision by the Interior Ministry to “urgently expropriate” properties in multiple districts, including the Bağlar and Kayapınar districts of Diyarbakır, the Çukurca and Yüksekova districts of Hakkari province, the Kızıltepe district of Mardin province, and the Cizre and İdil districts of Şırnak province, in order to build new “police security points” went into force on April 11 following the cabinet’s approval.