Ministry asks municipality to cancel default interest on water bills – Hikmet Adal

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The Home Office has opened an investigation against the sacked Siirt co-mayors, Berivan Helen Işık and Peyman Dara Turhan, as well as 23 other municipal council members in the eastern province of Siirt, Turkey, asking ” why they canceled the default interest on unpaid water bills “. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu authorized the investigation.

The investigation was launched following the decision taken by the Siirt City Council on December 3, 2019. With this decision, the City Council wrote off 761 thousand 908 Turkish Liras (TRY), which represents 90% of the default interest. 2,413 subscribers. ” Unpaid water bills of 861 thousand 956 TRY between January 6 and July 6, 2020.

The decision to write off default interest on unpaid citizens’ water bills was also supported by city council members from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). In the meantime, an administrator has been appointed to the provincial municipality of Siirt on May 22, 2020.

Learning of this incident, the Civil Inspection Bureau launched an investigation into the matter. On September 4, 2020, the Council requested authorization for an investigation from the Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu,

The Council indicated that the cancellation of interest on unpaid water bills of citizens is against the law, all default interest on the municipality’s debts cannot be canceled unconditionally, the president has the power to reduce and d ” increase the moratorium interest rates and the municipal council has no obligation or authority in this regard.

Süleyman Soylu gave the requested permission to the Siirt governor’s office on February 22, 2021. On May 5, the governor’s office wrote to the municipality of Siirt and asked for the documents it had.

Co-mayor sacked: we served the people

Dismissed from office by the Home Office, the co-mayor of Siirt, Berivan Helen Işık, protested the investigation, saying: “All we wanted to do was help people.

Noting that only interest on debts has been written off, Işık said:

“At that time, when unemployment was increasing and people were poorer, we made a decision like the city council. There were long unpaid debts. We both made people pay off their debts and we wanted to help those who had already been in bad economic times. “

“We did not commit a crime” Işık underlined, adding, “Didn’t the government cancel the debts and interest on arrears of pro-government companies a few months ago? It was apparently not a crime when they forgave the debt of pro-government companies, but was it a crime when we wrote off the interest on the debt of the people? If there is a crime, they should look at the companies whose tax debts have been written off.

Turhan: They do the same to Diyarbakır, Batman

Impeached co-mayor Dara Turhan also said: “We put an option in front of city dwellers who could not pay their unpaid water bills due to economic hardship. The city council made the right decision. It was a good decision.”

Turhan noted that interest on unpaid water bills has been reduced by 90 percent, allowing more than 2,000 residents of Siirt to pay off their debt: “The citizens have really welcomed this practice. The municipality of Siirt could thus recover its debts. Several AKP and CHP communes have taken similar decisions. Still governed by trustees, the municipalities of Batman and Diyarbakır also collect water debts by reducing interest.

“The reason this investigation was opened must be that the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) introduced this practice.

“Apparently it doesn’t result in a public loss when higher tax debts are written off, but does the state suffer a loss when the municipality offers citizens an easy payment? In addition, water is a basic necessity that must be used by citizens without paying anything to municipalities.

Kebapçı: We did not cause a loss

Muhsin Kebapçı, a municipal AKP board member said: “We did not know that such a decision was against the law. We believed it would be in the best interests of the citizens. We will oppose the decision to investigate.”

Noting that the proposal to write off interest on debts was made by the director of Siirt Water and Sewer Administration (SİSKİ), Kebakçı added:

“The citizens were unable to pay their debts. The municipality could not collect the debts. We wanted it to be an incentive for the citizens and income for the municipality, which was already in a desperate situation. We did not know its legal dimension. But we did not write off all of the interest, as it is written in the minutes of the investigation. We wrote off 90 percent. Several people took advantage of this and paid off their debts. We did not cause any loss to the municipality. On the contrary, we have tried to ensure that his debts are repaid; we served the citizens. “ (HA / SD)


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