Decision of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality to demolish mosques and its repercussions
It all began with the zoning change resolution, which the city council took "by a plurality of votes," reflected in some news agencies on July 12.
While previously reserved only as green areas, the green areas determined by the zoning change made during the Trustee period were also given places of worship in accordance with the public demands.
The first concrete project that stood out when the municipality was re-governed by the HDP after the local elections, was the decision of demolishing of mosques built-in green spaces, where change was made during to the governor of Trustee to be mosques on the public demands.
The decision to change the zoning plan was taken with the votes of the HDP group, which made up the majority, despite the opposition of the AK Party group.
The decision of the Municipal Council taken on 19 June, but the fact that it was reflected in the media about 25 days later, of course, should be the great fault of the AK Party group, which did not inform the public about the issue.
The City Council resolution covered four separate green areas.
The fact that there was a mosque within each green area whose rough construction had come to an end ignited the wick of the controversy.
Considering the detail of the decisions taken, the areas mentioned in the change were already the areas of mosques construction.
Anger began to rise as an avalanche as the council's decision was reflected in the media.
The fact that the mentality of the HDP is too clear to question in minds has led to an increase in anger while it was obvious that the decisions taken are aimed at mosques.
As the news of the zoning change was reflected in the media, the Diyarbakır Governor's office applied to the administrative judiciary for the cancellation of the decision, while the HDP municipality immediately went to deny the situation by sending SMSs and notices against the reactions that occurred.
Not satisfied with this, the HDP municipality began to target the agencies that published the news and those that reacted to it.
However, their intentions had been deciphered before the public. Instead of going to blame the agencies that made the news and the sections that reacted if there was a misunderstanding, the attacks of HDP municipality was because the city council was caught on the very act.
On behalf of the mayor and councilors, Mayor Selçuk Mizraklı, who made a statement through his social media account, expressed the following views:
"Biased media groups and social media are being served with false and defamatory news that our city council has decided to demolish the mosque. We condemn this and announce that we will initiate the necessary legal process."
"In only one of the areas that have been re-converted into parkland in the zoning plan by our city council, there is the construction of a mosque with rough construction and no demolition decision has been made regarding this.
However, it did not escape the sight that Mızraklı intended to rein the reactions by emphasizing blame and legal process. He attached the decision on only one parcel to his statements; reducing the problem to just one mosque instead of four but the public did not buy it.
While zoning change resolution was obvious, the statement of Diyarbakır mayor that "there is no decision on the destruction of the mosque" was not compatible with the spirit of the decisions taken.
However, the meaning of the quick reconstruction change was very clear. If you set any parcel as a green space, you will not allow any changes other than this. If there is a construction contrary to the green area, you will demolish it naturally.
Of course, there is no indication in the change that mosques will be destroyed. Moreover, that is the point where municipal officials hide behind and resort to denial.
If so, why was it necessary to make a new assembly decision for the green space only when the mosque was allowed to be built in need, even though it had already been separated as green space?
In fact, it would be enough for municipal officials to respond to this point instead of resort to denial. However, according to the leaked information, although these decisions were taken, even some HDP councilors objected to this situation and stated that it was done wrong.
The statement published on the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality website in response was completely offensive.
Some parts of the statement are in follow:
"First of all, we would like to make it clear that our Metropolitan Municipality does not have a decision to demolish a mosque anywhere… More importantly, there is no ‘mosque demolishing culture’ in our sense of municipality, which we have maintained until today. We would particularly like to stress that neither patriotism nor the sphere of faith is a racetrack of anyone or any political environment. What is decisive is the practice. Our approach to religions, languages, and cultures is also very clear… With the decision taken, it is planned that the existing roughly finished mosques will be greened and the areas outside the mosques in the related parcels will be converted to green space/parking areas… The change of plans does not result in the demolition of a mosque in any form. However, we will not allow such biased news that distorts the decisions of the assembly elected by the free will of the people to exploit the religious beliefs of our people. The legal process for all these news aimed at discrediting and polarizing will be initiated immediately."
In short, there is no decision to demolish the mosques says in the notice... on the contrary, the mosques environment will be greened to give a more beautiful appearance… there is no ‘mosque demolishing culture’ in our sense of municipality… the sphere of faith is not a racetrack of anyone, what is the decisive is the PRACTICE… bla bla….
If so, if your goal was to beautify the existing one, then why did you decide to make a new zoning change despite the objections of some of your members?
Were those park/green enemies who voted no? Did the current zoning plan prevent you from greening the environment of mosques?
The dominant mindset will be the hostility of mosques across Kurdistan, and those who object to it will be the exploiters of faith. Huh?
Wasn't the decisive "PRACTICE" actually the explanation for everything that was going on? Wasn't the emerged waves of anger because of this "decisive PRACTICE"?
Diyarbakır has changed and developed rapidly over the last two decades. During this time, the size of the areas opened to settlement passed the old Diyarbakır. Especially Kayapınar region has become a large city.
During this extraordinary development and growth, the Metropolitan Municipality was constantly in your hands. Continuously developing zoning areas, sites, boulevards, parks, gardens, social facilities, giant green spaces…
All took place during the period of municipalities in the present HDP line…
Ruined churches were repaired with municipal resources during this time. Djemevis [place where Alawites people worship] were constructed. Adding to all these; so how many mosques have been built or repaired?
Let alone build or repair work, finding a single mosque in new residential areas have almost become a miracle…
Clearly, even the mosques that the philanthropists wanted to build were blocked by the city municipality, citing zoning plans.
While neither fish nor fowl things were allowed in green spaces, mosques were not specifically given space. The new settlements, with single mosques built with the means of coercion, have become more like European cities than the Land of Muslims.
Planned "white Kurdish" neighborhoods were built while these neighborhoods were cleared of mosques.
It is clear that your aim is not to make the people of Diyarbakır happy, while it is obvious what focus you want to please and every person in Diyarbakır who has a conscience knows this very well.
It has become almost impossible to find a mosque to be worshipped at prayer times in new residential areas in Diyarbakır province.
There are at least small mosques in the parks and recreation areas in other cities. How many places have you opened in Diyarbakır's later parks where prayer can be performed even if there is a barrack?
The decisive one was" PRACTICE," right? Here is your practice!
During the interim period, the appointment of a trustee in the municipality mobilized the people and conscience who yearned for the mosque for many years.
They demanded that the new residential areas look a bit like a "Muslim neighborhood" and that the need be met. Permission to build mosques in non-mosque areas came out and the people mobilized with their own means, construction of mosques began.
The rough construction of mosques was coming to the end while the situation has offended you. Even if you have not started the fight against the insect yet, you got on the road and planned how you can stop these mosques.
When the waves of anger are raised and your intention is concretized, you are resorting to the ambiguity of introducing the desire of the mosque as an "exploitation of faith".
If it is practical, everyone's practice is already obvious.
Although the Metropolitan Municipality has spent all this time with different heads, different party names, the mentality and practical line have never changed.
If the mentality-mosque relationship is to be questioned, be sure you will never be unable to carry through.
Was not it this mentality that killed hundreds of imams in the region in time? Was not it this mentality that turned Susa and Başbağlar into massacres and wrecks with their mosques?
Does anyone remember the number of mosques burned down during the period of "pit politics"? How many of the mosques that were burned down have you intended to rebuild or repair?
Pages will be filled if we write only the names of mosques that were burned down or destroyed by a certain mentality during the "pit" period.
For example, the number of mosques burned down during the "pit" period in Şırnak [a southeastern province of Turkey] is 13. Only 4 mosques have been built to replace them so far.
The number of mosques burned, destroyed or largely unusable in Diyarbakır Suriçi is 7.
In Silvan 3…
In Nusaybin 18…
In Silopi 9…
In Cizre, 52 mosques and Qur'an courses…
In Derik 3…
In Dargeçit 1… mosques were destroyed…
If we add Qur'an courses and other religious sites to these, who can deny the fact that a large area is wanted to be free of mosques and similar religious sites?!
The activities of seeking political support in the international arena by benefiting some imperial focusses, of blocking mosques, removing mosques from the zoning plans and demolishing the existing ones on all occasions, are the most vivid examples of the so-called "freedom struggle" that has been applied for years, which are in front of the eyes.
We wonder what "practical" consequence is that?.. when you vomit hatred against religious places, religious education centers, and religious people and often carry out attacks and even massacres openly.
History is a witness that no mindset has been successful in enmity against the traditions, beliefs, religious places, mosques and other places of worship of its own people.
Sometimes the superstitious mindset has blistered like mountains of foam, but they have not recovered from eventually tumbling into the curse-torn dumpsite of history.
ILKHA - ANALYSIS