Kurdish woman fired from job at Bolu City Hall for sharing photograph of imprisoned Kurdish leader

Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan

A Kurdish woman said in a letter to Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu that she had been fired from her job at Bolu City Hall for sharing a photograph of imprisoned Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş on her social media account.

Gergerlioğlu shared the letter on Twitter and said Mahire Yentür had worked as a janitor at city hall before she was fired. Yentür said she was called a terrorist by her colleagues, which caused her emotional distress.

Demirtaş was co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish HDP when he was arrested in November 2016. He has been behind bars since then despite a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling in November 2018 that Demirtaş’s pre-trial detention was political and ordering his release. Turkish courts refused to implement the ruling, and a regional appeals court in Turkey subsequently upheld a prison sentence handed down to Demirtaş for disseminating terrorist propaganda.

Demirtaş was an outspoken critic of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, before he was jailed. He ran in the presidential elections of 2014 and 2018 as a rival to Erdoğan. The imprisoned leader conducted his campaign from jail for the 2018 election.

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