Turkey: Workers sacked by opposition-controlled municipality for participating in protests
After the administrations of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) and a district municipality sacked 47 workers in mid August, a lawyer representing the workers stated that they were dismissed over their participation in various protests.
The dismissals followed allegations by the Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu in late December that over 500 employees of the Municipality have ties to illegal groups including Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), designated a "terror group" by Ankara.
Although Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu -an outstanding opposition figure who ended the 25-year dominance of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul in the 2019 local elections- first rejected Soylu's allegations and protested that thousands of municipal workers were unfairly implicated by the groundless accusations, the dismissals came seven months later.
Lawyer Mursel Under told Duvar's Ferhat Yasar that the workers were dismissed because of their alleged participation in political meetings held in commemoration of the victims of Halabja and Roboski massacres, and on the occasion of the anniversary of Gezi Protests.
Halabja’s chemical attack and Roboski massacre are among the crimes committed against Kurds in Iraq and Turkey.
The dismissed workers, who staged a sit-in before the IBB's headquarters, said in a statement:
"The municipalities under the control of CHP [main opposition Republican People's Party] have become part of this lawlessness as they acted on ongoing, undecided court cases against us, although we have not yet been convicted, and they violated the principle of presumption of innocence. They are as much responsible and guilty as the Interior Ministry and Istanbul Governorship."
One of the workers, Faruk Gorken, told Rudaw's Omer Sonmez on Monday:
"In 2010 I participated in the commemoration of the Halabja Massacre. At that time, a criminal case was opened, but the case was completely closed in 2017.”
Another employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Imamoglu fired them “out of fear of losing his post.”
About Halabja and Roboski massacres
Around 5,000 people were killed when Iraq’s former Baath regime dropped mustard onto the Kurdish-majority city of Halabja on 16 March 1988.
34 Kurds from the village of Roboski, including 19 children, were killed by Turkish airstrikes as they were crossing the border back from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) on 28 December 2011 with goods packed on mules.