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Where is Leyla, Mr. Erdogan?


The blog had the opportunity to watch, for one more year, a few interesting documentaries at the 19th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. Among them, a quite interesting story about a young Kurdish-German woman who was elected the youngest mayor in Turkey.

From the description of the film:

The warm, sympathetic portrait of a 26-year-old Kurdish-German named Leyla Imret, who was elected the youngest mayor in Turkey. In a record 81% landslide, she is elected mayor of Cizre, a Kurdish city that lies in the region at Turkey’s border with Syria and Iraq.

It is here that Leyla was born, but after her father, a Kurdish guerilla fighter, was killed by the Turkish military, she was sent at the age of 5 to live in Germany.

After more than 20 years, she returns home. Her goal is to heal the civil-wartorn city. But on the eve of Turkey’s parliamentary elections, when old memories become more real than ever, will the voice of an emancipated woman be heard in a world of zealots?


As the rudaw.net reported in September 2015: “Cizre Mayor Leyla Imret, a Kurd, has been suspended by Turkey’s interior ministry in the wake of the city becoming a focal point of renewed conflict between Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported Saturday the interior ministry suspended Imret on Friday on accusations she had encouraged her fellow Kurds to begin an armed uprising and “terror propaganda,” after Turkey announced a curfew on Cizre begun on September 4 would end Saturday. Cizre is located in the heavily Kurdish Sirnak province in Turkey’s restive southeast.

As described in the film, Leyla Imret was suspended and arrested by the Turkish authorities in the context of a new round of suppression against the Kurdish regions by the Erdogan regime as a result of a historical high percentage achieved by the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) during the Turkish general election in June 2015. As the Vice reported in August 7, 2015: “The crackdown, they say, is revenge. In Turkey's general election of June 7, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) exceeded the 10 percent vote threshold required to secure a parliamentary presence for the first time. In doing so, it blocked Erdogan's ambitions of securing a "super majority" for the AKP, which would in turn allow him to alter the constitution and vastly expand his own powers.

During the discussion after the screening, the film director, Asli Özarslan, claimed that the communication with Leyla Imret is currently very difficult. Our impression is that even her current location is not clear. Imret had denied the accusation for "encouraging" terrorist activities.

It is certain that, the last person entitled to accuse others for fascist behavior is the Turkish president. Erdogan is responsible for Leyla Imret and thousands of other political prisoners. He should answer immediately about Leyla's current location and situation. Instead of accusing the Europeans for being fascists, screaming for justice, he should look first at his administration and the thousands of human rights violations in Turkey.

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