Inner West Council passes solidarity motion with persecuted Kurdish mayors

Greens councillor Colin Hesse.

On August 25, the Inner West Council became the first local government in New South Wales to adopt a motion in solidarity with 23 Kurdish mayors who have been removed from office by the Turkish state.

The motion condemned the “decision of the Turkish authorities to remove democratically elected mayors from office on the basis of questionable evidence; stresses that these actions continue to undermine the ability of the political opposition to exercise their rights and fulfil their democratic roles”.

It also called on the Turkish authorities to “reinstate all mayors and other elected officials who won local elections on 31 March 2019 and were prevented from assuming office or were dismissed or replaced with unelected trustees on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations”.

Copies of the resolution will be forwarded to the Turkish ambassador, the Turkish consul general, Foreign Minister Marise Payne, local federal MP and Labor opposition leader Anthony Albanese and local Kurdish community organisations.

Greens councillor Colin Hesse, who moved the motion, told Green Left: “I was very pleased that all but one councillor voted to support the democratic rights of Kurds to elect the mayor of their communities in Turkey, and that the issue has been referred to the next conference of Local Government NSW.”

The Kurdish community and Kurdish solidarity groups are urging other city and regional councils to pass similar motions of solidarity.

Before the Inner West Council adopted the motion, Brad Pettitt, the mayor of Fremantle in Western Australia and several other local councillors from around the country had made statements in solidarity with the Kurdish mayors.

Greens MP David Shoebridge has also listed a solidarity motion for discussion in the NSW Parliament.

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