Ovacik’s Che

21 June 2019

In eastern Turkey, Fatih Mehmet Maçoglu embodies an ongoing utopia and a form of resistance to Erdogan's autocratic drift.

Maçoglu is a Communist. Turkey’s one and only Communist mayor. In the deserted mountains of Anatolia, he revived a moribund agricultural sector and, for five years in his commune of Ovacik, a small Kurdish town of 3,000 inhabitants, implemented a truly revolutionary grassroots program: free transport, free water, income from harvests redistributed to the poorest families and students in the form of grants, transparency in municipal accounts and the creation of a people’s assembly.

These actions made him famous throughout Turkey and prompted him to run in the municipal elections in Tunceli, the region’s largest city.

This Anatolian “Pepone” ran his campaign at full speed in this town of 30,000 inhabitants, devastated by unemployment, and against all the odds, he won his bet. Tunceli’s new mayor is a bit of a nail in the coffin for the Islamo-conservative powers that be, but the latter have other fish to fry with the new vote they’re organizing in Istanbul. So, for the time being, Tunceli’s red mayor can continue on his way…

A Kinopresse report by Jean-Yves Cauchard and Ali Inan