Dismissed Kurdish mayor attends hearing with black eye

Dilek Hatipoğlu, the former mayor of Turkey’s eastern Hakkari province, attended the latest hearing of a case against her with a black eye on Friday, Mezopotamya Agency reported.

Hatipoğlu said she had been beaten by prison guards and subjected to strip searches as she was transferred from the Ankara Prison to the Van Prison in eastern Turkey, closer to the Hakkari court house where the hearing was held.

During the trial Hatipoğlu said the black eye had occurred during the assault, and petitioned for extra time citing her condition.

Pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party’s (DBP) Hatipoğlu and Nurullah Çiftçi, who served as her co-mayor during her term, are facing charges of misconduct over their implementation of a co-mayorship system, where the elected mayor and first member of the city council serve as equals.

The co-mayorship system is one among many similar initiatives where DBP determines candidate lists to always include one man and one woman, to share the leadership role, in a bid to improve gender equality. DBP and its sister party, Turkey’s second largest opposition group Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), also utilise a co-chair system wherever applicable.

Hatipoğlu and Çiftçi were removed from their positions and replaced by government-appointed proxies in 2015. The former mayor was arrested shortly after, and has been awaiting trial in prison since.