Edibe Şahin is one of the two women city mayors elected at Sunday's elections. In Tunceli, people received the refrigerators and other appliances given as compliment of the governor, resulting in accusations of political bribery during electoral campaign, but they didn't refrain from voting for opposition parties. Furthermore, they showed satisfaction with Democratic Society Party's woman mayor and elected another such.
"Elections were local but here, PM Erdoğan raised it to level of general elections by declaring ' he wanted Tunceli and Diyarbakır'. In contrast, people of Tunceli are Alevites, leftists, dissidents, who represent identities of defiance. The PM lacked any knowledge of the realities of these people. So, they exposed the bribery and went on to show their reaction at the polls."
Şahin recalls that people of Tunceli first received proper services when they elected Songül Erol Abdil in 2004, as a collaboration of EMEP and DTP. "And for 29 March, we extended this collaboration to include other groups such as the Socialist Platform of the Oppressed (ESP), Partizan, People's Cultural Centers and Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP). It was a democratic campaign on our part and we won."
Born in 1960, in Dersim, Nazımiye, Şahin is married and a mother of two. "I was working as a treasury official when the 1980 coup came and I was exiled. Despite an amnesty later, I didn't return back and proceeded as a human rights and women's rights activist."
She took part in women's organization of the DTP and contributed to the party on different levels. Moreover, she worked as editor in Kurdish Rewsen magazine as well as volunteering for the Umut Kids Association, Human Rights Association and Gökkuşağı Women's Association.
Regarding women's place in politics, she criticizes the low levels of representation despite a relatively early acquisition of the right to vote and to get elected. "Political parties bear the burden here. As women, we made a serious struggle in DTP. At this point, our party can be regarded as a model in this respect. This is the third term our party is entering local elections and number of women mayors rose from three to 15."
Şahin's first aim as mayor is to complete the projects that the predecessor has begun. Next, she wants to further new projects focusing on children, the youth and women. According to Şahin, Tunceli's urgent problems include unemployment, forced migration and the dam project in Munzur valley, which is feared to destroy the fauna.
As for women, Şahin plans to establish a council with its own budget as well as campaigns on the violence against women.(EZÖ/AGÜ)
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