Bianet reports on the growing protests amongst Turkish academics and intellectuals over the recent KCK arrests:

04 November 2011

A bill of exception was handed to the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court to appeal against the detention of 46 people who were arrested on 1 November in the course of the so-called KCK operation (Union of Kurdistan Communities). Prof Büşra Ersanlı and publisher and writer Ragıp Zarakolu are among the detainees.

A group of academics and intellectuals gathered in front of the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) Courthouse on Thursday (3 November) to protest the arrests, among them Prof Füsun Üstel, Prof Fatma Gök, lecturer Meryem Koray, lecturer Nesrin Sungur, Prof. Tahsin Yeşildere, Prof Özden Cankaya, Ass. Prof Nilgün Tutal, actress Jülide Kural, Dr. Gençay Gürsoy, lawyer Hülya Gülbahar, writer Ayşegül Devecioğlu, Agos newspaper executive editor Arat Dink and singer Pınar Sağ.

 “The smear campaign against Büşra is most saddening”

Sırma Evcan, sister of academic Ersanlı, said, “What hurts the most is the smear campaign against Büşra. She advocated for solving problems on a legitimate level without violence. I watched the announcement of the Minister of the Interior in amazement. It seems to mean ‘What happens if just one single professor is being taken’. This is not an effort to eliminate violence”.

 “Academics will follow up the arrests”

Prof Fatma Gök expressed her concern about the arrests that have reached as far as into the field of academics. According to Gök, the arrests aimed at fading down the voices of the people who rack their brains over the situation of social politics in Turkey. However, what was actually created in society was indignation, she claimed.

Gök stressed that the academics were going to follow up these arrests. “We still have to enlarge this resistance”, she declared.

 “We will lecture at the Political Academy”

Prof Tahsin Yeşildere mentioned that several academics from Turkey and abroad wanted to lecture voluntarily at the political academy of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) where also Ersanlı gave a few lessons. He announced that this was going to be realized in the near future.

Actress Jülide Kural criticized, “Ersanlı and Zarakolu represent a symbolic issue; no opposing idea will be tolerated in this country. The power sees the right to say the only and last word lying solely with itself. We will fight against this always and everywhere”

“This is an invitation to the weapons; we have to fight”

Lecturer Meryem Koray emphasized that they came together not only for Ersanlı and Zarakolu but to stand up against the oppression of freedom of thought on their behalf. “It is an invitation to the weapons if those people who contribute to a peaceful solution of the Kurdish questions are being arrested”, Koray added.

Academic Nesrin Sungur indicated, “We are at the end of words if academics and journalists say ‘one day we might be arrested as well’. We do not know how long this will continue but with our struggle we can shorten that period”.

“Our appeal should be reviewed in a court hearing”

Lawyer Ercan Kanar said that he invited the judiciary to remember the basics of law with the appeal against the arrests that were said to have been carried out under the tutelage of the political power.

“In our bill of exception we did not request to put an end to detention, to lift the decision of restriction and it is not an ostensible appeal. We demanded to examine the appeal at a court hearing where we are present as well”.

Lawyer Ezgi Şahin said in the press release, “In the course of the investigation Ersanlı was asked questions as if she had obtained documents of an illegal organization because her notes include concepts like ‘democratic autonomy’ and ‘citizenship of Turkey’. Zarakolu was assessed as a member of an illegal organization because he attended the opening ceremony of the Political Academy and the certificate ceremony. The registration list of the party’s school ‘seized’ by the police was shown as an item of crime. Party members and executives and university students taking lessons at the academy were subject to technical surveillance. (…) All this indicates that law has abased itself” (NV/VK)