Ayhan Bilgen

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Ayhan Bilgen
Ayhan Bilgen (2017)
Mayor of Kars
In office
12 April 2019 – 2 October 2020
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
7 June 2015 – 8 April 2019
ConstituencyKars (June 2015, Nov 2015, 2018)
Personal details
Born (1971-01-28) 28 January 1971 (age 53)
Sarıkamış, Kars, Turkey
Political partyPeoples' Democratic Party (until 2021)
Alma materAnkara University (BA)
Hacettepe University (MA)
WebsitePersonal website

Ayhan Bilgen (born 28 January 1971, Sarıkamış, Kars Province)[1] is a journalist, politician and former mayor of Kars from the Peoples' Democratic Party.

Early life and education[edit]

Bilgen studied political sciences at the Ankara University and sociology at the Hacettepe University, also in Ankara.[1]

In 2006, Bilgen was engaged in the Turkish Human Rights association Mazlumder in which activity he opposed the new Anti-Terror bill by the Turkish Government as it limited the freedom of expression.[2] In the same year he was elected as its chairman, and he kept the post for two years.[3] In 2011 the newspaper he was the editor in chief of, Günlük, was closed by the Turkish authorities[4] due to suspected support of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).[5] He was also a columnist for the newspapers Özgür Gündem and Evrensel.[3]

Political career[edit]

He was elected to the Turkish parliament for Kars as a representative for the HDP in the general election of June 2015,[6] and again the snap elections of November 2015.[7] He supported the defense of Kobani against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in Kobani and was prosecuted for taking part in manifestations in October 2014[8] during the Siege of Kobani. He was arrested in spring 2017 and released in September of the same year.[8] During his parliamentary career he advocated for Human Rights, Kurdish rights and the protection of the environment.[9] In the local elections of March 2019 he was elected the Mayor of Kars.[10] In May 2020, after several Municipalities won by the HDP were put under the authority of state appointed trustees, Bilgen received the support from dozens of human rights organization.[11] On 2 October 2020, he was formally arrested and deposed as Mayor of Kars[12] and replaced by a government-appointed trustee, the governor of Kars Province, Eyüp Tepe.[13][14] He announced his resignation from his party, HDP, on 13 December 2021.[15] He founded a new political party in 2022.[16]

Legal prosecution[edit]

On 25 September 2020, he was detained together with several prominent HDP politicians like former deputies Sırrı Sureyya Önder and Ayla Akat Ata due to the Kobani protests which were held in support of the Kurdish population in the Syrian town of Kobani in 2014, which was then besieged by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).[17] After he was arrested in October 2020, he was transferred to the Ankara Sincan prison. He was found not guilty of terrorism related charges in the Özgür Gündem trial on the 15 October 2020.[18] On the 17 March 2021 the Turkish state prosecutor before the Court of Cassation Bekir Şahin filed a lawsuit before the Constitutional Court demanding for him and 686 other HDP politicians a five-year ban to engage in politics.[19] In June 2021, he was released following the third hearing of the Kobani trial.[20]


  1. ^ a b "Ayhan Bilgen Kimdir ? - Ayhan Bilgen Hayatı ve Biyografisi". www.haberler.com. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  2. ^ "New Anti-Terror Bill Incites More Violence". Bianet. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Ayhan Bilgen kimdir? Ayhan Bilgen nereli?". Haberler.com (in Turkish). 25 September 2020. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  4. ^ "itemid":%5b"001-116134"%5d} "CASE OF GÜDENOĞLU AND OTHERS v. TURKEY". European Court of Human Rights. Archived from the original on 2015-07-25. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  5. ^ ""Günlük" newspaper banned over alleged "terrorist propaganda"". IFEX. 2009-08-28. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  6. ^ Şafak, Yeni (2020-05-17). "Kars Election Result 2015 - General Election 2015". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  7. ^ Şafak, Yeni (2020-05-17). "Kars Election Result 2015 - November 2015 General Election". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  8. ^ a b "Arrested HDP MP Bilgen To Be Released Pending Trial". Bianet. Archived from the original on 2017-09-08. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  9. ^ "HDP Delegation Not Allowed into Dersim". Bianet. Archived from the original on 2018-08-29. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  10. ^ Şafak, Yeni (2020-05-17). "Kars Election Results – March 31 2019 Kars Local Election results". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  11. ^ "122 Institutions Express Support for Kars Co-Mayors Bilgen and Alaca". Bianet. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen arrested, trustee appointed to Kars Municipality". Bianet. 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Ayhan Bilgen sacked by the ministry of Interior". Milliyet (in Turkish). 2020-10-02. Retrieved 2020-10-02.
  14. ^ "Trustee replaces Kars mayor dismissed in pro-PKK probe targeting 2014 Kobani riots". Daily Sabah. 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020-10-02.
  15. ^ "Ayhan Bilgen, HDP'den istifa etti: Yolcu yolunda gerek". birgun.net (in Turkish). Retrieved 2021-12-13.
  16. ^ Direkçi, Zelal (2022-03-31). "Ayhan Bilgen'in lideri olduğu Türkiye'nin Sesi Partisi, kuruluş dilekçesini İçişleri Bakanlığı'na verdi". Medyascope (in Turkish). Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  17. ^ "Turkish police detain dozens of HDP members, including Mayor Bilgen, over 2014 Kobane protests". www.duvarenglish.com. Retrieved 2020-09-25.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "HDP's Ayhan Bilgen acquitted in 'Özgür Gündem' trial". Bianet. Retrieved 2020-10-18.
  19. ^ "HDP indictment seeks political ban for 687 members, including Demirtaş, Buldan and Sancar". Bianet - Bagimsiz Iletisim Agi. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  20. ^ "Turkish court rules to release former mayor, 3 others in Kobani trial". Stockholm Center for Freedom. 2021-06-16. Retrieved 2022-04-15.

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