Just days before Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), traveled to the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır (Amed) to reconcile with the Kurdish voter, a CHP-led municipal government fired one of the workers for posting a photo of imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş.
The municipal government of Bolu province in northwestern Turkey forced a cleaning worker to resign after a local newspaper published the worker’s post on social media sharing a photo of Demirtaş, the imprisoned former co-chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Duvar reported.
The newspaper had previously said on February 24 that the post of the worker, named Mahire Yentür, was proof of the support of the mayor of Bolu, Tanju Özcan, for the HDP. The newspaper also claimed that Yentür was constantly doing propaganda for the HDP and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
After being forced to resign, Yentür recounted the pressure she faced from other municipal employees.
“I was at the municipality when I saw the newspaper report for the first time (…) Later, I was called a terrorist among my colleagues. A photo post destroyed me,” she said, adding:
“People from the municipality said, ‘It’s better if you quit your job.’ I had to quit so that my family and loved ones wouldn’t be hurt. I have nothing to do with HDP, I don’t have a membership. I tried to express myself but no one listened to me. All my friends turned against me. I can’t even go out now.
Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, HDP MP and prominent human rights defender, reacted to the incident on Twitter.
“Mahire Yentür is a cleaning lady, a Kurdish citizen. The municipality of Bolu dismissed him from his post. And his offence? Sharing Selahattin Demirtaş Photo!!! Not only was she fired, but she was also subjected to social isolation!