Trustee fires 84 employees of Diyarbakır Municipality

The trustee appointed for Diyarbakır Municipality has dismissed 84 municipal employees despite pandemic protection against dismissal. Those affected believe they are to be replaced by AKP supporters.

Since Mayor Dr. Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı was removed from office at the instigation of the Turkish Ministry of the Interior in August 2019 and subsequently jailed, a number of municipal employees in Amed (Diyarbakir) have lost their jobs. At the New Year, another 84 public sector employees have now been dismissed despite pandemic protection against dismissal.

The trustee Münir Karaloğlu justified the dismissals by saying that the temporary employment contracts had expired. But laws enacted as part of the Coronavirus pandemic stipulate that employment contracts be automatically renewed. The dismissed workers, meanwhile, fear that they will be replaced by AKP supporters. “We have indications that Karaloğlu willingly took bribes to fire us and replace us with people loyal to the government,” says one of those affected, who does not want his name mentioned here. He is one of the 84 dismissed employees who had been hired by Mızraklı. In view of this, the mass dismissals would be tantamount to a wave of purges at City Hall.

The dismissed ex-employees of the city administration have announced that they will take legal action against their dismissal. And the chances are good that they will be successful in a lawsuit against their dismissal. Whether they will be rehired afterwards, however, is questionable. The appointment of trustees has plunged thousands of employees of the formerly HDP-led municipal administrations and their families into hunger and hardship. They are being systematically dismissed and replaced by AKP supporters. In Van, 250 municipal workers won a lawsuit in May against their dismissal by the trustee. However, they were not reinstated by direct order of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu. This action represents yet another example of the irrelevance of the judiciary in Turkey, while the executive branch is given ever new powers and acts as it sees fit.

Trustees appointed to 48 HDP-run city halls

Of the 65 municipalities won by the HDP in the March 31, 2019 local elections, only six currently remain. trustees have been appointed to 48 municipalities, four of them metropolitan cities. Dozens of city council members and provincial council members were also removed from office. Of 37 mayors arrested, 17 are still in jail.