State appointed mayor sacks employee who lost legs in ISIS attack

The state-appointed mayor of Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakır has fired a staff member who lost her legs in an Islamic State (ISIS) attack in 2015, news site Duvar reported on Tuesday.

Lisa Çalan is one of eight employees dismissed from their jobs by the city’s state-appointed official, who last year replaced the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) mayor, Duvar said.

Çalan, who had been working as stage designer for the municipality’s department of culture since 2016, was dismissed citing redundancy, it said. 

Çalan lost both her legs during an ISIS bomb attack on a HDP rally in Diyarbakır on June 4, 2015. The attack left five dead and over 100 injured.

A total of 32 elected Kurdish mayors have been removed from their posts by state appointed officials in 2019 as part of a crackdown by the Turkish government on the HDP.

Ankara accuses the HDP of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interest of the outlalwed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for over three decades. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, as well as the E.U. and the United States.

Many ousted HDP mayors are facing terrorism-related criminal prosecutions.

“The state appointed mayors have fired many of our colleagues since 2016 and I am one of them,’’ Çalan said. 

“Of course I am no different than those who have lost their jobs. My only difference is that my physical condition, compared to others, highly limits my employment opportunities,” Çalan added.