Turkey’s First Communist Mayor: Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu
In Turkey, 84.67% of citizens voted in recent election. Below is the percentage of votes got by the parties as a result of the election.
Justice and Development Party - 44.33%, Republican People’s Party - 30.2%, Good Party - 7.31%, Party of the Nationalist Movement - 7.31%, Democratic Party of Nations - 4.24%. Residents of Istanbul, Ankara, Adana and Antalya voted for the Republican Party, thereby surprising the earlier ruling Justice and Development Party. This once again showed the importance of collaborative work. The Republican Party actively cooperated with its voters in megalopolises.
The purpose of this article is not to burden you with information about the elections, its goal is to introduce you to the former mayor of Ovacik and the new mayor of Tunceli, the leader of the Communist Party, Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu. This article is written to celebrate his victory and congratulate him. While reading this text, you may even want to immigrate to Tunceli or, at least, visit this city.
Dersim (Tunceli) - a city with magnificent nature and ancient history - today is one of the most advanced cities in Turkey. They say, by the form of the administrative management, it is the most advanced city in Turkey. In 2019 elections the Communist Party in Tunceli received the most votes, and the district Tunceli became the first communist municipality in Turkey.
Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu was born in Ovacık city, Tunceli province. He was the first child in a large family with eleven children. He worked in the field of health. From 2014 to 2019 he served as mayor of Ovacık.
Аs а mayor of Ovacık, he was an example for the heads of other municipalities. At the time he was elected as a mayor, the city had debts amounting to1 million 151 thousand lire. During the four years of hard work the debt decreased to 642 thousand lire.
The first thing he did after becoming the mayor was to open the doors of his office so that anyone who wants to see him can easily do it. After that, he drew attention to the main problem in the city - unemployment. The 60 % of the population in the city was unemployed. The solution of this issue was found by creating cooperatives.
And how did it all start?
He provided 650 acres of land for production. Thus, the empty lands were sown, and people got jobs. Beans, potatoes, chickpeas were cultivated. He also provided subsidies to low-income families, and scholarships to students.
Currently, the number of farms in Ovacık has increased from 25 to 600. Previously, the city harvested 25-26 tons of crops, and now it harvests 450-500 tons, while the number of products from one or two increased to twelve.
The communist mayor ensured a good status for women in cooperatives. Now women can occupy managerial positions there.
Also, at the initiative of the mayor, once a month assemblies are held. Employees of cooperatives, people with disabilities, students, together with representatives of the authorities make joint decisions.
At one of the meetings, an important decision was made - to make travel on municipal buses free. Maçoğlu does not use an official car, instead he takes buses, or chooses walking. The only city in Turkey where public transport fare is not charged is Ovacık.
Prices for water use are rising regularly. On this occasion, Maçoğlu says: “Water is the first necessity, we have the right to it. How can we take money for something we cannot live without? ”Due to legal formalities, Maçoğlu cannot completely free Ovacık residents from paying water bills. But he reduced the cost of a cubic meter of water by 50%, and water bills are paid quarterly, not monthly.
In addition, Maçoğlu made a library with ten thousand books, computers and free Internet accessible to all children and young people. The library works around-the-clock.
The mayor also launched the following project: children who spent an hour in the library could then rent a city bike for free. Thus, the number of children reading and leading an active lifestyle in the city has increased.
Citizens regularly asked Maçoğlu: “How do you manage to provide subsidies and other social support measures in the frame of this budget?” In response, he hung a poster at the city hall building with an expenditure report on which the following was written: “You can calculate everything!"
Maçoğlu is now elected mayor of Tunceli. His goal is to turn the Tunceli region into a center of agriculture and tourism. And the first thing he did at the new post was to remove the fences in the city hall, so that citizens could freely get inside and ask their questions to the municipal employees. When he is asked: “Will you be able to do the same you did in Ovacik?, he replies: “If I have made some improvements in a small city that is not developed from an infrastructural point of view, what prevents me from achieving the same in a more promising and modern district, with many successful industries? "
Indeed, considering all that the communist mayor could do, the following questions come to mind: “Why don't the heads of other cities achieve the same? Why is there no transparency in other cities? Why don't they increase production there? ”
The communist mayor set an example for us: “If you want something, it will work! It is possible!”
We hope that the activities of Tunceli’s mayor and his successes will set a good example for the mayors of other cities, and they too will adequately fulfill their duties when dealing with citizens.
Congratulations to Dersim, congratulations to communist mayor Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu!
Translated from Turkish.