Mayor of Sur Demirbaş: we set an example, and we are paying the consequences
06 June 2010
- InterviewsMayor of Sur Abdullah Demirbaş back to work: our efforts for peace will double
Sur Mayor Abdullah Demirbaş, who was arrested in the context of the so called KCK (Kurdistan Communities Unity) inquiry and has spent five months in prison despite his illness, stated that they, the detainees, stood as an example for Turkey because of their multilingual municipal work. Demirbaş added; “We got the ball rolling but I am paying the consequences. I am still accused of abusing of my job”.
*You were in prison for nearly five months. You said that the police who handcuffed you was a former student of yours. Did you meet any other former students of yours at the time of arrest?
- It's true both a policeman among the group who handcuffed us and my lawyer who came to defend us were my students. Besides, the first doctor in medical faculty at emergency care and two assistants in haematology unit were also students of mine. This is an uplifting case for me. We lived morale boosting things under bad circumstances.
*What were you accused of during the inquiry and what did they ask you?
- They told me that I engaged workers under the orders of KCK. The point is, I didn’t hire any worker during my term in office. Our municipal had unfortunately a lot of economical problems, which didn’t give us the chance to employ new workers. I was also asked about some press conferences I attended to.
*Which problems did you live in prison?
- For example, I couldn’t go out for my medical tests due to lack of soldier. Besides, we were taken to the hospital in 8-10 prisoners at the time, which caused us to have time problems. At the end of the shift, we had to go back to the cell very often without any test. For me having regular tests was very important because it would determine the dosage of the drug I would use. Besides, I was taken to a place under the courthouse when I was ill. The place was so unhealthy; the toilet was inside, the windows closed, no air, in addition thirty people smoked inside. I stayed there three hours long; which made me extremely ill. The handcuffs were opened only on the way to toilet.
*Which problems do other prisoners live?
- Among the prisoners, Nurettin Sosyal, Izzet Turan, Halil Güneş and Taylan Cintay and many others are having serious health problems now. Some of them had had embolism, angina and many had other operations previously and have difficulties now in jail. They are also having problems with unhealthy foods. For example, the daily ration allowance of a prisoner is 4 Turkish liras (about 2 euro), which is absolutely insufficient for an ordinary person. Besides, some prisoners have health problems due to the imprisonment conditions. The bathroom, toilet and kitchen are next to each other in the wing; which is unhygienic. The central heating is placed near the door, so the room isn’t heated well. Due to a heavy rainfall once, the jail was flooded. In summer, there is a water problem in jail although there isn’t any water problem in Diyarbakır. The water is not yet clean and it is hard because Diyarbakır water supply isn’t connected with the water supply in jail. Separately, the number of prisoners in jail is now well over the number allowed.
*How do you thing you were able to make a difference in relation to the perception of the municipal work?
- I always think that the initiatives of local governments must be developed. Democracy can be possible with the development of local government and devolution mentality. The unraveling of local problems with devolution requires an eye on the differences of cultures and values because the solution is developed by starting from understanding the problem. Our multiple municipal work is something similar. We firstly made a general search about the people we will have to govern. The result was a cultured and well identified society and studying this led us to the solution. If you see this social reality, then you can light the social peace and democracy. Pluralism is a dimension of democracy. So, we are applying a multilingual system at municipal works.
*’Democratic self government’ has again been brought to agenda. How does the public react to it?
- For example I was elected with 54 percent of the vote in 2004. We decided for multilingual municipal in 2007. I was elected again in the 2009 election this time with 65.4 percent of the vote. This should be an important signal of the fact that the public looks positively at democratic progressions.
*Do you have new projects?
- As soon as I recover, I will go on with the two projects I had left unfinished. One of them is decanting the city wall bases and making a recreation area; the other one is the restoration of Armenian, Keldani churches and Jewish synagogues. And then the project "Serê Şewê Çîrokek Her Mal Dibistanek" (A story for every night of the year, turning each house into school) will also be extended.
*Clashes are increasing due to operations. Your child is also on the mountain. How do you evaluate the happenings as a father and as a politician making effort for peace?
- I want nobody to die or to be killed and also feel anxious that this process and this tension will increase. I believe that firstly the government must take steps and start dialogue with the ones playing a role for peace. All these tensions will be seen by the people in Turkey. The clashes harm everybody; people are dying and others are taking their corpses. Now, everybody must take a stand in the process for no more deaths.
Translator: Berna Ozgencil
SERCAN KAYA-ANF / ANKARA
ANF NEWS AGENCY