18 January 2013

We are disturbed to learn that once again Turkey has carried out yet another mass arrest of lawyers.

According to statements by the ELDH, CHD and by Selcuk Kozagacli, the President of the CHD (see ELDH website) police launched raids early on Friday, 18 January, against the political organisation, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) , arresting 55 peace, including 15 lawyers, of whom nine are members of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD).

Once again we see the results of Turkey’s severe anti-terrorism laws whose failure to distinguish between lawyers and clients end ups criminalising lawyers for carrying out their professional duties of representing their clients.

While lawyers persistently face prosecution for simply doing their jobs and the population in general lives under the constant threat of political intimidation for taking part in normal political activity, there can be little hope of lasting peace and stability in the country.

The responsibility for the continuing unrest and future turmoil must rest with Turkey’s leaders who appear unprepared to take the necessary measures to end protracted political conflict, not least of which is the Kurdish conflict. Turkey is effectively a country in a state of war with large communities existing under siege conditions.

Such circumstances are not propitious for securing peace or for the success of any negotiations which demand goodwill on both sides as a pre-requisite for achieving lasting results.

This continued harrying and persecution of members of the legal profession and others bodes ill for the future and can only be interpreted as a step backwards for peace and reconciliation.

We demand the immediate release of these lawyers along with all other lawyers currently held by Turkey.

We urge friends and supporters to write letters of protest to the Turkish Justice Ministry/Prime Minister Erdogan and the Turkish Embassy.

For further information

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts: Estella Schmid and Melanie Sirinathsingh
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk <mailto:estella24@tiscali.co.uk>  Tel 020 7586 5892

Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Conor Murphy MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas