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Labour urged to act over dismissal of Kurdish mayors

TURKEY’S People’s Democratic Party (HDP) issued an urgent appeal today for solidarity from the Labour Party in fighting for democracy in Turkey after the removal of mayors from three largely Kurdish provinces.

Exiled HDP spokesman Osman Baydemir told the Star that “a coup against democracy and against the people” had taken place after government trustees were appointed in Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van last month.

He appealed to London Mayor Sadiq Khan to support colleagues from the HDP, Labour’s sister party, warning that silence indicates support for the attacks on democracy.

Mr Baydemir said: “Fascism is like an infection.

“If we don’t stop Turkey it will infect Europe too,” referring to the authoritarian government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“If we cannot stop Erdogan, then we cannot stop fascism in our own country,” the former MP for Urfa said.

“If this happened to Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, what would happen? What would the people say?

“If you believe in democracy you must see this as a coup against democracy and against the people, particularly of Kurdistan.”

He said Mr Khan must come out strongly.

“He should support his colleagues and help them take back their positions as elected mayors.”

Turkish and Kurdish groups sent Mr Khan a joint letter on September 4.

The letter, signed on behalf of 25 organisations representing 40,000 domiciled Turks and Kurds, called on Mr Khan to send a message of solidarity to his counterparts in Turkey.

It highlighted the violent response from the Turkish state to those protesting against what the groups described as “an arbitrary, illegal, and anti-democratic move aimed at destroying the will of the electorate.”

Mr Khan was asked to use his position to put pressure on the Turkish state to abide by international law and demand the reinstatement of the elected officials.

A major campaign will be launched at Labour conference next week in solidarity with the HDP.

Plans to be unveiled include a twinning programme for local authorities to build formal links with the municipalities that have had their mayors removed and those under threat from the Turkish state.

A number of councils have already indicated support and individual councillors and MPs are set to twin with their HDP counterparts as a gesture of solidarity.

To sign the petition use the online link at:

To find out information on how to twin your local authority or to twin as a councillor or MP email:

Mr Khan’s office was contacted for comment.


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