Report on women and state commissioner in local governments

After 40 years of war, in spite of the intense efforts by Kurdish popular leader Mr. Öcalan to achieve a lasting peace through democratic negotiation methods, AKP government declared war on 30 October 2014, with the scope of their plan called “forced collapse.” Against this war, the local people went on to struggle to protect their existence. In this period, many cities and villages –including Şırnak, Cizre, Silopi, Sur, Nusaybin, Yüksekova and İdil– were destroyed by heavy artillery and an estimation of 2360 people, including 368 unarmed residents lost their lives. Over 400,000 people have been displaced during the process.

The insistence of the central state construct to implement war policies for a solution of the Kurdish issue has brought along a further systematic crisis. FETÖ structure, nurtured by the State against socialists and the Kurds for long decades, tried to benefit from this crisis, and a coup mechanism was put into action on July 15th. Within the scope of this mechanism of coup d’état, State of Emergency (OHAL) has been declared on July 19, democratic norms were suspended, the parliament became dysfunctional as the country was to be governed by Decrees with the Power of Law (KHK). The transformation of the system continued with a controversial referendum on April 16th. Read more in PDF

When OHAL was declared shortly after the coup attempt on July 15th, the President was granted the right to issue Decrees with the Power of Law, to make legal amendments only with the approval of the Council of Ministers, without the need for any debate in the Parliament. Decree No. 674, dated August 15th, 2016, granted to Governors and District Governors the authority to appoint state commissioners to municipalities, to confiscate movable properties of the municipalities, and to terminate the employment of municipality workers. Based on this KHK, DBP municipalities have been seized, beginning as of September 11, 2016, and co-mayors have been arrested without clear grounds, disregarding basic principles of law.

Women are among the first communities who are most affected by OHAL and the anti-democratic practices it ensues. Women are faced with yet another discrimination policy on a daily basis in social, political, legal and economic spheres. Many achievements earned by women in both local and central administration are today at risk. We also witness that this political process usurps the rights of women including the right to life.

This report has been prepared with the aims to summarize the projects for women, carried out by our DBP municipalities until the appointment of the municipal administrations and to publicize the practices of the municipalities on women’s work after their seizure by the central government trustees.

*WOMEN ORIENTED PROJECTS IN DBP MUNICIPALITIES BEFORE THE ASSIGNMENT OF STATE COMMISSIONERS

In 1999, in the elections we participated as HADEP[1], our experience with local administration has started with 3 women mayors, which became 9 in 2004 and 14 women mayors later in the elections in 2009. As of 2014, the experience of 15 years of local government brought with it a wealth of women’s local government knowledge, strong in both quality and quantity……. Read more in PDF

*PRESENT SITUATION WITH STATE COMMISSIONERS AND WOMEN’S PROJECTS *EXAMPLES OF POLICIES BY STATE COMMISSIONERS ON WOMEN’S PROJECTS

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CONCLUSION

The appointment of state commissioners is the usurpation of local democracy and the people’s will. In DBP municipalities confiscated through trustees, the first targets were women’s projects. Many achievements of the women’s movements in Turkey, especially Kurdish women’s movement, have been disabled by state commissioners. DBP municipalities, one of the most important mechanisms for promoting women’s socialization in politics and social life, have been transformed into areas of practice for sexist and nationalist policies. In this respect, the closure of institutions such as women’s shelters and counseling centers have led to the desolation of women against violence. The immediate abandonment by the Government of Turkey of this OHAL-KHK process and State Commissioner policies is an urgent requirement for everyone, but especially for women. Implementation of basic principles of democracy and the European Charter for Local Equality in Local Life, the European Local Authorities Convention, CEDAW, the Istanbul Convention is a requirement, as Turkey needs to fulfill its democratic responsibilities.