The government is discriminating against public officials of Kurdish or Alevi origin and blocking them from being appointed to higher-profile ranks, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Muş deputy Sırrı Sakık has said.
“I examined over 20 public institutions and government bodies and I determined that there’s not a single high-ranking official who has Kurdish, Alevi or non-Muslim origin in those posts. Almost all of high-ranking officials are from the Black Sea region or Central Anatolia,” Sakık told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday, adding that the government was favoring public officials who have Turkish and Sunni origins.
The public institutions in question include the General Staff, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Council of State and the undersecretaries of the ministries, Sakık said.
Sakık raised the issue initially during parliamentary debates on the 2013 budget late on Dec. 11, when the budget of the Constitutional Court was being discussed at the General Assembly.
Sakık noted that Sait Sever, a Kurdish lawyer and the head of the Muş Bar Association, was nominated for Constitutional Court membership by 16 bar associations from East and Southeast Anatolia in 2010 but was blocked from gaining a post at the highest level by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“Sever was not close to our party. Several [Kurdish] lawmakers from the AKP voted in favor of him. But those who had voted for Sever were not nominated as a candidate [for deputyship] from the AKP in the 2011 elections. This single incident reflects the AKP’s attitude. We know what is being discussed behind closed doors [in the AKP]; we are not talking without knowing,” Sakık said, noting that the AKP maintains a “mentality of denial characteristic of the previous government,” even in 2012.
“You cannot find any Kurds at top posts in the General Staff, for instance. Then the government asks, ‘What do the Kurds want?’ Let me tell you, Kurds want to be equal with you and live together. Kurds want to have rights that the prime minister has,” Sakık said, while admitting that he might have missed some examples to the contrary.
Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, in response, rejected Sakık’s allegations, saying authorities do not look at public officials’ ethnic or sectarian origins. “If you don’t count those who are not your party members as Kurdish, that’s another issue. But we have many civil servants [who have Kurdish origin].
There’s no discrimination,” Atalay said in Parliament on Dec. 11.