Türkan Kayır makes history as first female mayor of Azakh, Turkey

AZAKH, Turkey — Türkan Kayır, a 52-year-old Syriac native of Azakh (İdil) in the historic Tur Abdin region in what is now southeastern Turkey, has clinched victory in the mayoral election, marking a historic moment for her hometown. Kayır, who left Azakh for Europe in 1985, returned to secure a resounding win in the 31 March election.

Running as a candidate for the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (Halkların Eşitlik ve Demokrasi Partisi, DEM) as co-mayor, alongside running mate Doğan Adıbelli, Kayır secured an impressive 71.27% of the votes. Her triumph signals a significant shift in the political landscape of Azakh.

The journey back to her roots was not without its challenges. Kayır’s departure from Azakh in the mid-1980s was prompted by her father’s passing. However, despite the decades spent abroad, Kayır never lost her connection to her homeland. Over the past ten years, she made frequent visits to Azakh.

In an interview with Mesopotamia Agency a month before the elections, Kayır spoke of her desire to return to her hometown, a dream that she held onto steadfastly throughout the years. “I always told myself: ‘One day I will return to my land’ — and it happened,” she expressed before the elections, encapsulating the determination and resilience that defined her journey.

Kayır’s victory not only marks a personal triumph but also holds immense historical significance for Azakh. She follows in the footsteps of Şükrü Tutuş, the town’s previous Syriac mayor, who served from 1966 to 1979. Tutuş was killed in an unresolved murder in 1994 while serving as the president of İdil’s Motherland Party (ANAP).