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PODCAST | Kurdish Local Democracy Stands Strong Despite Repression

On March 31st, millions of voters across Turkey went to the polls to elect mayors and municipal councils. For the pro-Kurdish political movement and millions of Kurdish voters, the elections were particularly critical. Local democracy gives Kurds a chance at self-governance and an opportunity to implement policies that would be impossible to put into practice at the national level in Turkey’s authoritarian, nationalist political climate.

At the same time, the Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made Kurdish local democracy a target of severe repression. Over 75% of voters who supported successful pro-Kurdish candidates in the 2019 local elections were deprived of their elected representation when their municipalities were seized by the state.

On election day, pro-Kurdish parties won back most of those municipalities despite unfree and unfair elections. Now, they’re fighting to hold on to their democratic victories.

To learn more about the struggle for local democracy in Kurdish regions and the model it provides for Turkey and the Middle East, KPI Director of Research Meghan Bodette (@_____mjb) speaks with Ceylan Akça (@ceylanakcac), Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party MP for Diyarbakir.

This episode was recorded on April 3, 2024. 

About the Authors

Meghan Bodette - KPI Research Associate

Meghan Bodette

Director of Research

Meghan Bodette is the Director of Research at the Kurdish Peace Institute. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, where she concentrated in international law, institutions, and ethics. Her research focu…

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Ceylan Akça

Podcast Guest

Ceylan Akça is a Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party Member of Parliament for Diyarbakir.

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