Turkish mayor ‘pulls down playground’


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The Turkish media are reporting an usual result from last weekend’s local elections – a village mayor stands accused of pulling down a playground in a fit of pique after losing the vote.

Villagers in Yenidoganlar near the Black Sea woke up on Monday morning to find the playground dismantled and various parts dumped in a van, and some witnesses say they saw Mehmet Akyol “cut up the swings and slides because he was angry at the result,” the T24 news site reports.

Mr Akyol was “muhtar” – elected village head – for 20 years before being ousted in the local polls, and the playground had only been built two weeks before the vote, the villagers said.

“He put up the playground to win votes, and pulled it down it when he lost,” one told the DHA news agency, while a mother said she’d confronted the ex-mayor to ask “why are you upsetting our children?”. 

“He should be ashamed of himself… This is government property. He was attacking government property here,” she added. 

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Mr Akyol denied the accusations of being a sore loser. “I paid for the children’s playground with my own money,” he told DHA, explaining that he had to dismantle the playground because the owner of the land complained.

‘Didn’t want to play anymore’

Local anger was matched on social media, after TV and newspapers took up the story, with many members of the public asking why children had to lose out.

“We long for normal people in our country,” one Twitter user sighed, while another concluded that “the mayor didn’t want to play anymore”.

But the public didn’t just comment. Musician Cenk Eren contacted the new mayor to say he would pay to replace the equipment, at which point singer Isin Karaca offered to cover half the cost.

The district authorities took them up, and now the children of Yenidoganlar have new swings and slides to play on.

Reporting by Ilgin Karlidag and Martin Morgan

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