Villagers tell politicians not to bother turning up .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ARDAHAN - After years of being ignored, 10 villages in Ardahan in the northeast of the country decide enough is enough and ban politicians from entering their region. One local village head says the villages have many problems that are never addressed. He adds they cannot even get the state to fix the bridge that provides access to each of the 10 villages

Ten villages in the eastern province of Ardahan on the Georgian border have banned politicians from entering, warning that those who violated this ban would be punished in the next local elections.

The villagers said they have been telling politicians that they have no doctor, fresh water or proper roads during every election and their complaints were ignored soon after each election.

The villages of Kurtkale, Sabaholdu, Baltalı, Övündü, Kenardere, Akçil, Ağıllı, Horozöttü, Dirsekkaya and Akkiraz finally decided there was no hope of politicians keeping their promises and have banned their entrance to the region for the local elections scheduled for next March.

Around 2,000 people
Kurtkale’s Muhtar, or village head, Yaşar Bingöl, said the population in the 10 villages totaled around 2,000.

"The villages have many problems that were never addressed. We cannot even get the state to fix the bridge that provides access to each of the 10 villages," he said.

He said he had heard Justice and Development Party, or AKP, deputy Saffet Kaya bragging on television about his service to the region in a speech in Parliament. "We have no idea what he did. They appointed a doctor to our medical center. The doctor left after 20 days," said Bingöl. He said it took them an hour to get any patient to the nearest town.

The electricity to the pump that brought water to the village had been cut, he said, and added that when they asked the Turkish Electricity Distribution Company, or TEDAŞ, to fix it, company officials told them it was not their responsibility.

"We have realized that politicians do not care about our needs and have decided not to let them in," he said.

The muhtar of the village of Sabaholdu, Binali Kaya, said the reason why the bridge had not been fixed was because it was too cheap to repair it.

"If it cost millions, a tender would have been held long before now and many would have come to get a piece of the action," he said.

"This bridge is a stain on Parliament. Steel rods that come out of the bridge ruin our cars. I am calling on the leaders of this state to apologize to us, rather than to the Armenians."

He said he did not want to see a single politician in the region, and added, "If they do come, we will punish them."