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Februniye Akyol (Christian name: Fabronia Benno) is an Assyrian politician and was co-mayor of Mardin. She is a part of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and thus the first Christian woman to lead one of Turkey's 30 metropolitan municipalities.
Put forward as a candidate by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Turkey’s main Pro-Kurdish party, in the municipal elections on the 30 March 2014, Februniye Akyol was elected co-mayor of the southeastern city of Mardin together with Ahmet Türk, 71, a widely respected veteran Kurdish leader. The BDP splits all top posts between a man and a woman to boost female participation in politics.
“The Kurdish party has enabled me to fight for my people and its rights, and this is what I am going to do,” Akyol told Al-Monitor in an interview in Mardin. She was the second most popular candidate, getting support from almost half of the Kurdish population in Mardin.
On the 17 November 2016 she and Ahmet Türk got dismissed as the Co-Mayors of Mardin.
Born and christened Fabronia Benno, she had to run for office under her official Turkish name, Februniye Akyol, because of long-standing restrictions on the cultures and languages of ethnic and religious minorities in Turkey. Since Assyrians are not officially recognized as a religious minority by the Turkey, they are not allowed to teach their language, Syriac. The Turkish constitution prohibits using other languages than Turkish as an instruction language in both public and private schools.
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- "25, Christin - und Bürgermeisterin in Südanatolien". Stern.
- "Mardin elects 25-year old Christian woman as mayor - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East". Al-Monitor. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2016-05-13.
- Yücel, Deniz (2016-11-20). "Türkei: Einzige christliche Bürgermeisterin abgesetzt". Retrieved 2019-08-29.