Turkey: KCK trial resumes on 2 August

By the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign:

The trial of more than 150 prominent Kurdish politicians, including six who were elected in the June 2011 general election, resumes in Diyarbakir on Tuesday 2 August.

The KCK Case, as it is known after the Union of Kurdistan Communities umbrella group, is the largest mass show trial to be held in Turkey in over a decade and has led to huge protests and unrest in the Kurdish region with mass protests held outside the court when hearings took place before the election.

In a 7,578-page indictment, the defendants are charged with crimes such as “aiming to destroy the unity and integrity of the state”, being a “member or leading member of the PKK”, and “aiding and abetting the PKK”, for which they face penalties of between 15-years and life in prison.

The trial first opened in October 2010 when 152 high profile Kurdish political and civil society leaders including six newly elected MPs including Hatip Dicle, members of the BDP, six elected mayors from cities in southeast Turkey and Muharrem Erbey, head of the Diyarbakir branch of the Human Rights Association and vice president of the IHD nationally.

Those standing trial are all committed to finding a peaceful political solution to the Kurdish conflict and have been calling for the opening up of a genuine dialogue between Turkey and Kurdish representatives.

The outcome of the trial will have huge ramifications for the future of Turkey. It will determine whether the state can live at peace with its Kurdish population under a new constitution that recognises their identity and legitimate rights, or if it is going to continue with the disastrous path of denial, repression and conflict. Those who stand accused represent a vast array of civil society and political organisations established by members of the Kurdish over a number of years and the individuals command great respect and loyalty from great swathes of ordinary Kurdish people. The trial is thus rightly perceived as a trial of the entire Kurdish people and an outcome regarded as unfair is likely to have massive consequences in terms of provoking unrest. Already huge largely peaceful protests have been held during previous court sittings but the results of the June elections indicate quite clearly the strong determination of the Kurdish people to unite and exercise their will in pursuit of their legitimate rights. Their voices and cries for justice can no longer be silenced.

Defendants have demanded to defend themselves in the Kurdish language during court proceedings but have been accused by judges of speaking in an “unknown language”, another absurdity and insult to the intelligence, rendering the whole trial like a black farce, but one that threatens deadly consequences. It is time that a much wider spectrum of politicians and decision formers in the UK and the whole Western world took notice of what is happening in Turkey today.

Jeremy Corbyn, UK MP and chair of ‘Liberation’, said: ”It is impossible to separate the issue of the trial, the continued detention of Kurdish MPs and the general treatment of Kurdish people in Turkey. I observed the opening of the mass trial of the first 150 defendants, including the Mayor of Diyabarkir, in the city last year. I was appalled at the atmosphere and methods used by the prosecution and the refusal of the use of the Kurdish language by the defendants.

“Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe, a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights and participant in the Human Rights Court. It is essential that we in the UK and Europe all do our utmost to ensure international standards are met.”


For information contact:
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign: Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish question
Estella Schmid – Tel: 020 7586 5892 – mobile 07846666804
Rachel Bird – Tel: 020 7272 4131

Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Alyn Smith MEP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP,  Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Edward Albee, Mark Thomas, Bairbre de Brún MEP


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