Trustee removes name of slain Kurdish activist Elçi from park in Van

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Hacı Asım Akgül, a trustee appointed by the government to Van’s Çatak Municipality, has removed the name of former Diyarbakır Bar Association head and human rights activist Tahir Elçi, who was killed in 2015, from a park in the district and named the park after a village guard who died in clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Elçi was shot dead by an unknown assailant while making a press statement near a historic mosque in Diyarbakır on Nov. 28, 2015. To date, no light has been shed on his murder.

The park is now named after Ali Ogün, a village guard killed by the PKK in Çatak in 2016.

Akgül, who is one of the dozens of trustees appointed by the government to replace democratically elected mayors in the mostly pro-Kurdish municipalities in Turkey’s Southeast, assumed his post in January.

Immediately after he began his job as the new mayor of Çatak, Akgül also changed the color of the safety railings around the Çatak River from the colors of the rainbow to the white and red, the colors of the Turkish flag.

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