Fifth Demirtas Hearing Takes Place Two Weeks Before Election

Written by Margaret Owen (pictured), International Trial Observer and Barrister

Margaret 2018
Friday 8th June

I have returned to Istanbul in order to observe the fifth hearing of the trial of former HDP co-chair: Selahattin Demirtas. Given that Turkey’s presidential election is only two weeks away, we the international observers, anticipate a final verdict.Selahattin Demirtas has been detained since November 2016 in Edirne prison under anti-terror law. He faces numerous charges and is accused of making terrorist propaganda.
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Further Updates from the Trials of Selahattin Demirtas

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Demirtas

 

Written by Margaret Owen, International Trial Observer and Barrister

Monday 16th AprilMorning in Istanbul starts cold and cloudy. The HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) members collect my UK solicitor colleague, Ali Has, and myself at 7 am from our hotel, for the long drive to the Silivri prison complex. On the way we pick up the Assyrian Swedish MP, Yilmaz Kerimo, vice-chair of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, and further along the route we collect one of Demirtas’ top Lawyers, Ramzan Demir.

 

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The Continual Trials of Selahattin Demirtas

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Demirtas

Written by Margaret Owen, International Trial Observer and Barrister

Sunday 15 April

My last blog on 13th February reported that the case of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of Turky’s HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), had been adjourned until 11th April. With his parliamentary immunity removed, Demirtas faces many separate indictments and trials under Turkey’s Anti Terror Laws. In February, before a court in Akara he had eloquently conducted his own defence, (see previous blogs) but as his request for bail was refused, he remained in custody at Evirne prison.

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The threat to Turkish democracy – Paul Maskey MP

On early December 2017 I joined an international delegation to observe trials the Turkish government had brought against leaders of the HDP (Peoples Democratic Party). The party’s co-chairs Ms. Figen Yüksekdağ and Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş were tried on 6th and 7th December respectively.

Throughout the delegation, which consisted of representatives from over a dozen countries, our contact with leading HDP officials was frequent. Deputy Chair, Mr. Hişyar Özsoy MP, was responsible for the general coordination of the international delegation. Continue reading

The Trial of Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtas

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Blog post from International Trial Observer and Barrister Margaret Owen (pictured)

Wednesday, December 6

Ms Figen Yüksekdağ is charged, under the Anti Terror Law, with inciting violence, making propaganda for a terrorist organisation ( PKK)  and establishing and managing a terrorist organisation. These accusations were made on the basis of speeches she had made, as an elected MP, both inside and outside parliament between 2011 and 2015. Figen, as an elected member of parliament, and co chair of a legal political party, was simply doing her job. It was absurd to allege that her speeches were promoting terrorism. There is no evidence that she organised or is a member of a terror group.

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Joint Statement on behalf of the International Observers Delegation to the trial of Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag

6th – 7th December 2017

 We the undersigned make this declaration to serve as a joint statement on behalf of all members of the international observes delegation that have arrived here in Ankara to observe and objectively report on the trial of the two HDP (Peoples Democratic Party’s) Co-Chair’s Sellahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.

 Mrs. Yuksekdag and Mr. Demirtas were arrested and detained in prison since last November, 2016. Numerous charges have been brought against them relating to alleged “terrorism” activities. The particulars and evidence of the charges they face however emanate from their parliamentary activities and the responsibility they must uphold on behalf of the millions of voters that have elected them as their parliamentary representatives. These include; their speeches in Parliament, speeches at political rally’s, party meetings, press statements and general and legitimate opposition party activities. Continue reading

Reorienting the PKK: Rojava and the Political Thought of Abdullah Öcalan

 

In its 1978 manifesto, the PKK declared the establishment of an independent state to be the most important political goal of any national liberation movement. Twenty years on, the party’s leader Abdullah Öcalan changed this when he developed an ideological framework based on the idea of self-governing, stateless societies as the best way of addressing socioeconomic and sociocultural injustices. In this talk, Joost Jongerden explains this paradigm shift, which reoriented the PKK as well as other Kurdish movements in the Middle East.


Joost Jongerden is Assistant Professor at the Rural Sociology Group and the Center for Space, Place and Society at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He is also a Professor at the Asian Platform for Global Sustainability & Transcultural Studies at Kyoto University in Japan.

Join the conversation on Twitter using #LSEKurds

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Hunger Strikes in Turkish Prisons: Information Note

HDP PRISON COMMITTEE INFORMATION DESK
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Prison Committee
10 April 2017

The hunger strike protests of political prisoners in Turkish penitentiary institutions have reached a critical point. The protest was initiated in Izmir Şakran High Security Prison on 15 February 2017 to draw attention to gross human rights violations and inhumane living conditions in prisons, the isolation on the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, and Erdoğan-AKP Government’s renewed politics violence and war in the Kurdish issue. It soon spread to other prisons across Turkey. Continue reading