Trade Union arrests: Egitim Sen Trade Union Central Management Council statement

We will not give in to the AKP arrest system! Our friends who are under arrest must be released!

Turkey wakes up each morning to a new wave of arrests. The AKP is trying to silence and intimidate every opposition voice, all different views, by using repression and arrests.

Today it carried out operations in 28 towns and cities early in the morning, arresting 167 people, among them members of KESK (Confederation of Workers in the Public Sector).

Among those detained are Akman Simsek, member of the board of KESK, as well as his wife Mehtap Simsek. Numerous members and office-holders of our trade union  have been detained, accompanied by the scenarios already known to us. The central office of KESK was visited by the police.

Continue reading “Trade Union arrests: Egitim Sen Trade Union Central Management Council statement”

Trade Union raids: KESK Statement

This is the text of a statement by our confederation KESK’s management board entitled ‘We will not be silent! We will resist! Repression cannot intimidate us!’.

The AKP’s “advanced democracy ” continues with a daily glut of arrests and imprisonment. But it has always been seen that this allegedly “advanced democracy” was built on hostility to labour and democracy, and like authoritarian and fascist regimes it detains and imprisons its opponents.

We have seen most recently that the AKP shows there is no part of the country where its empire of fear is not determined to cast its shadow. It is quickly dragging Turkey towards the image it has formed of a one-man dictatorship; its aim is to condemn the whole of society to deep silence by putting its opposition-democratic sections through the mangler. For this reason it sees no problem in using illegal imputations to detain and imprison everyone who raises their voice against its empire of fear, be they students, lawyers, trade unionists or journalists. In short, everyone who wants to live a decent life in a democratic country continues to be targeted.

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Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update

Below is the latest news from the European Federation of Journalists’ (EFJ) international campaign to set free all journalists in Turkey.

08 Feb 2013 – 7 Media Staff Freed Pending Trial in KCK Case, Bianet

05 Feb 2013 – EFJ President König reports on the latest hearing in KCK case,  EFJ website (click here for Spanish)

05 Feb 2013 – Turkey Cannot Defend Record On Press Freedom, Kadri Gürsel / Al Monitor

01 Feb 2013 – The EU or the Middle East, where goes Turkey ? Jan Espen Kruze / NRK (video report)

01 Feb 2013 – German MP, Hakki Keskin, writes an open letter to the Turkish PM,  (full letter in DOC)

31 Jan 2013 – Conflating critics with terrorists in Turkey / CPJ

Upcoming events:

18 Feb in Istanbul : next hearing in Ergenekon case

21 March in Istanbul : next hearing in OdaTV case

22-26 April in Istanbul : next hearings in KCK press case


New edition of the Spokesman on the Kurdish Question in Turkey – out now



Spokesman 119: The Kurdish Question in Turkey

Edited by Tony Simpson

To order contact Central Books:

ISBN:                           978 0 85124 821 9
Price:                           £6.00
Format:                       Paperback
Length:                        100pp
Size:                              210mm (H) x 148mm (W)
Publication Date:       February 2013
Genre:                          Politics, Current Affairs, Human Rights
Readership:                 General  & Academic
Rights:                          Contact publishers


Ayse Berktay has been locked up in a Turkish prison since October 2011. She and some 200 others are, periodically, before Turkey’s Tribunal with Special Powers as part of the ‘KCK trials’. KCK stands for Kurdish Communities Union, which the Turkish government has labelled a ‘terrorist’ organisation, although the actual basis for this draconian claim is not at all clear.

Continue reading “New edition of the Spokesman on the Kurdish Question in Turkey – out now”

German Justice Minister awards Ludovic-Trarieux Prize to imprisoned Turkish lawyer Muharrem Erbey

By Severin Weiland

30 November 2012

Translated from German original which was published by “Der Spiegel”.

It is a symbolic action: Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has awarded one of the most important prizes for lawyers to a man who has been held in custody for three years. The German FDP politician appealed to Ankara to end the imprisonment of Muharrem Erbey.

Berlin – Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has awarded the Ludovic-Trarieux Prize, one of the most important human rights prizes for lawyers, to Muharrem Erbey, who is in prison in Turkey. He has been in prison for three years, not until September was the trial against him begun. Continue reading “German Justice Minister awards Ludovic-Trarieux Prize to imprisoned Turkish lawyer Muharrem Erbey”

Behind the Kurdish Hunger Strike in Turkey

Journalist Jake Hess has written this article for the Middle East Research and Information Project on the on going hunger strikes and their political context:

To hear Mazlum Tekdağ’s story is enough to understand why 700 Kurdish political prisoners have gone on hunger strike in Turkey. His father was murdered by the state in front of his Diyarbakır pastry shop in 1993, when Mazlum was just nine years old. His uncle Ali was kidnapped by an army-backed death squad known as JİTEM (the acronym for the Turkish phrase translating, roughly, as Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-Terror Unit) two years later. Mazlum never saw his uncle again, but a former JİTEM agent later claimed they tortured him for six months before killing him and burning his body by the side of a road in the Silvan district of Diyarbakır.

Such experiences have moved thousands of Kurds in Turkey to join the armed rebellion of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, which has been outlawed since its inception. But Mazlum, along with thousands of others, chose to fight for his people’s rights through the non-violent means of pro-Kurdish political parties, a succession of which have been allowed to operate by the Turkish state before then being shut down. He was first arrested in 2001, when he was 17. Now 28, Mazlum has been in jail for three and a half years, though he has not been convicted of a crime. His trial is deadlocked because Turkish courts refuse to let him or his fellow political prisoners offer their legal defenses in their native Kurdish language. All of them speak fluent Turkish; they are making a political point. Continue reading “Behind the Kurdish Hunger Strike in Turkey”

Doğan Özgüden: “A shameful press trial for Turkey as for Europe!”

Doğan Özgüden, Info-Türk Chief Editor,  issued the following declaration on September 9, 2012, on the occasion of the  60th anniversary of the beginning of his journalistic career in Turkey:
44 journalists before a Turkish tribunal

A shameful press trial for Turkey as for Europe!

I began journalism in the Republic of Turkey at the age of 16 years in Izmir on September 9, 1952

It was the first years of the Democrat Party’s power having promised a real democratization in the country. However, at that date, 184 personalities of whom many writers or artists of the country were already behind iron bars on charge of belonging to a communist organization. It was followed by the arrest of many journalists or writers whatsoever be their political opinion. Continue reading “Doğan Özgüden: “A shameful press trial for Turkey as for Europe!””