Municipal assembly approves mayor’s discriminatory motion against foreigners

The municipal assembly of the northwestern province of Bolu has accepted Mayor Tanju Özcan's proposal to charge a tenfold fee for the water bills and solid waste taxes of foreigners, mostly directed towards refugees who have settled in the city after fleeing war in Syria.

The mayor's controversial motion was brought forward to the municipal assembly, whose 14 members from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party gave a "yes" vote during a session held on Aug. 3.

The motion was accepted and sent to the planning and budget commission despite the opposition votes of other assembly members from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The motion will be voted once again at the municipal assembly following the discussion of the proposal in the commission.

Many people on social media, including journalists and politicians, had reacted to Özcan's previous statements on refugees, calling him out for his discriminatory comments and what they said were racist remarks.

Speaking at the municipal assembly after the voting, Özcan criticized the comments made against him that the practice would be unconstitutional.

Defending that his proposal is not against the constitution, laws and regulations, Özcan claimed that citizens of the Republic of Turkey and foreigners cannot have the same rights in the country.

"The principle of equality mentioned in the constitution is valid for the citizens of the Republic of Turkey," Özcan said.

Özcan also called on the government to hold a referendum on the fate of refugees living in the province.


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