Probe launched into mayor’s anti-refugee remarks
A probe into the controversial remarks of Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan, who said he would propose to the northwestern province’s municipal assembly a motion to charge a tenfold fee for the water bills and solid waste taxes of foreigners in reference to refugees who fled from Syria, has been launched.
The Bolu Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Özcan for the charges of “misconduct in office” and “hate and discrimination” following the petitions regarding the criminal complaints about his statement on refugees were put into operation.
“We cut off their aid and stopped giving them business licenses to open shops, but they didn’t leave,” Özcan said, who is from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), during a meeting at the municipal building.
Many people on social media, including journalists and politicians, reacted to Özcan’s statements, calling him out for his discriminatory comments and what they said were racist remarks.
Following the growing backlash on social media, CHP Deputy chairman Seyit Torun stated in a written statement that Özcan’s views bind him.
“The prevention of a basic right to life such as [access to] water, even bringing this issue up for discussion, is diametrically opposed to our party policies,” Torun said, stressing that he believes that the Bolu municipal council members will not take a contrary decision.
Emrullah İşler, a lawmaker of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), also criticized the statements.
“I listened to the racist and provocative words of CHP Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan toward Syrians. It is our humanitarian duty to help those in need and share our bread,” İşler said.
The proposal will be discussed at the province’s municipal assembly next week.