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Showing posts from July, 2012

Eyewitness in Turkey

A political purge is under way in Turkey. Since 2009, thousands of activists from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have been arrested in police raids and interned in extended pre-trial detention. Following elections in June 2011, the BDP currently has 36 members of the Turkish Parliament, elected mainly with the support of Turkey's substantial Kurdish minority.

Now, a series of trials has begun. In the latest of these, more than 200 people are before the ‘Tribunal with Special Powers’, charged with support for, and involvement in, the Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK), which is a banned organisation. This grouping, it is alleged by the Turkish Government of Prime Minister Erdogan, acts as the 'urban branch' of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), also banned in Turkey because of its long-term armed campaign against the Turkish state. On this pretext, the Turkish authorities continue to arrest large numbers of activists throughout the country in regular raids. In recent week…

Ayse Berktay Free Her Now

Ayse Berktay Hacimirzaoglu was one of the main animators of the World Tribunal on Iraq, which held sessions in Brussels, Tokyo and New York before concluding in Istanbul in 2005. She proposed the Tribunal in 2002, at a meeting of the European Network for Peace and Human Rights, which the Russell Foundation convened in the European Parliament in Brussels. She works as a translator, and her Turkish translation of Black Beauty has been widely acclaimed. She has been held in prison in Turkey since October 2011. An international delegation is currently in attendance at the trial of Ayse Berktay (Hacimirzaoglu) and over 200 other people in Silivri, Turkey. The trial is due to end on Friday.

For further details please visit the Ayse Berktay Free Her Now Facebook page: and

Eyewitness in Turkey

Punishing the Innocent in the Name of Justice

What we* are witnessing in Silivri (near Istanbul) nowadays is simply a scar of shame on the forehead of humanity. Otherwise, philosophers, theorists, humanists, law makers, activists should work on finding new definitions for all the values we were taught in school, above all justice, because what is happening here is using the devices of law and justice to criminilize and punish the innocent, in the name of peace, justice and, of course, fighting terrorism.

Early in the morning of the first day of the trial, 2 July, hundreds of people gathered in Taksim Square, the main square of Istanbul, to catch buses to Silivri where the court is held, only to find that the police were waiting for them and preventing buses from going there. The police actually did this. However, some people were luckier and managed to go, taking private cars, taxis, and so on. We were among them. After driving for more than an hour we found ourselves in front of the po…