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Kurds in Turkey hope for democracy : elections are Erdogan's Governor chase away

In the school of music Ma in Diyarbakir prevails. Some of the students practicing the violin, the other playing the Saz, a long-necked Lute. A family in carries

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Kurds in Turkey hope for democracy : elections are Erdogan's Governor chase away

In the school of music Ma in Diyarbakir prevails. Some of the students practicing the violin, the other playing the Saz, a long-necked Lute. A family in carries pots with a lunch for the teachers. Ma is more than just a school for music-loving children in Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey's Kurdish area. "Ma" means "together" in Kurdish – the school is something of a Cooperative, emerged as a Protest against the city administration.

As 92 other municipalities in the Kurdish area of Diyarbakir for several years under forced administration by the Turkish Central government. The elected mayor here, and elsewhere, were discontinued because of the alleged cooperation with the terrorist organization PKK by the Governor of Ankara replaced. In the case of the Turkish local elections this Sunday Diyarbakir and other Kurdish cities from the receivership will be dismissed. However, there is doubt that the election will actually initiate a return to democracy. A total of around 15 million Kurds live in Turkey, they represent barely 20 percent of the population.

music teacher Weysi Aydin was employed as all the teachers at Ma earlier at the municipal school of music of Diyarbakir. However, as the urban school more than two years ago - was how all of the communal institutions of the receivership, took Aydin to his hat. "We have refused, and forced management to cooperate, because we didn't want to accept that our elected city Council is simply deducted," says Aydin. Therefore, he was dismissed at that time. Together with like-minded colleagues, he founded the private school in Ma.

The city of Diyarbakir was almost ruled for 20 years by the Kurdish party to be banned after a number of Party and renamed it is now called HDP. The provisional end came in the autumn of 2016: As the Turkish government continued the Co-mayor Gültan Kisanak and Firat Anli by emergency decree, and sent a forced administrator in the city. On the occasion of the PKK insurgency in several Kurdish cities in the summer of 2015, and of which triggered fighting between PKK militia and Kurdish police and army, also in Diyarbakir until spring 2016 raged.

The HDP mayor were discontinued because the Turkish government had in suspicion, to make common cause with the PKK, says the political scientist Hüseyin Alptekin, the Turkish think-tank Seta: The municipal politicians would be the PKK-fighters, for example, the fleet of the municipalities. Thus, the PKK had opened with the municipal excavators the streets to the trenches to dig. "In addition, the instrument of the PKK and abused the local authorities to recruit their fighters, they took advantage of communal facilities such as youth centres or women's centres as propaganda centers."

HDP-chief Demirtas, has been sitting for the end of 2016 in custody

So Ankara decided, the Kurdish mayor to sell and to put their municipalities under compulsory administration. In vain, the former HDP Chairman Selahattin Demirtas protested against the law, which was enacted in September 2016: "The forced administration of our municipalities is not going to work, I tell you. Why not? Because the people will not be part of this.“

Demirtas was arrested a few weeks later, in his apartment in Diyarbakir festival and sitting since then behind bars. Shortly before his arrest, Diyarbakir was on 1. November 2016, under forced administration. As the forced administrator and the mayor of Ankara sent the career bureaucrats, Cumali Atilla in the Kurdish city.

A Kurdish woman demonstrates for the detained HDP-chief Selahattin Demirtas.Photo: Kemal Aslan/Reuters

Many municipal employees, the new management refused to cooperate, as the musician, Nergis, who teaches today at Ma music. "We have said from the beginning that we have to do it, and that is why we have left and have begun elsewhere."

Other municipal employees remained – some for economic reasons, others out of Conviction. Because of local administrative competence of the HDP, there was also criticism. The administration have their advantages, Kenan Okutucu, the head of the road construction office of Diyarbakir. "Since the administrator is in office, we have seen a large increase in road construction," he says. The roads had been improved and also covered in greenery and lights. From Ankara, was Governor Atilla the money to do it. "We have been able to do a good job, and the citizens are very satisfied," says Okutucu.

President Erdogan has already threatened a few months ago open

road construction, garbage collection, infrastructure projects – these are the hallmarks of the government party, the AKP and its political predecessors, since the current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the 90s, the mayor of Istanbul, and the city thoroughly clean.

However, Diyarbakir is not Istanbul, and the Kurdish population expects of its political representation more than only well-lit streets, says a market trader. He would like to congratulate the administrator Atilla to the Street landscaping and lighting: "But now we want to back a candidate from the people, from the HDP."

A Banner in Diyarbakir shows Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Governor Cumali Atill.Photo: Umit Bektas/Reuters

On Sunday forced administrator Atilla is applying as a candidate of the AKP to the mayor's office. In the election campaign, he accused Kurdish politicians, Diyarbakir "ideologically" ruled. In contrast, the HDP declared the election to the day of reckoning with the receivership. "We will liberate this country from the shame of the forced administration," said HDP-chief Recai Temelli recently.

To an election victory of the HDP, there is no doubt: according to A survey, the HDP can expect politicians Selcuk Mizrakli, and Hülya Alökmen Uyanik as a double top of your party in Diyarbakir with almost two-thirds of the votes.

The only question is how you can stay a long time in the office. President Erdogan had spoken of the threat months ago: "If in the municipal elections in March terrorist helpers should be chosen, then we will have to wait and see what happens. We will immediately – immediately! – act and re-users forced to use the age.“

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political scientist Alptekin also expects that the Kurdish local authorities will in future be placed on a short leash. "Even if the HDP wins, these municipalities are back, this time there will be more Monitoring and control." Sunday's election will bring the Kurdish area maybe re-elected local politicians – but no peace.

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