Interview with Hozat, Karayılan and Bayık

Below we reproduce an interview with the two new co-chairs of the executive council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), Bese Hozat and Cemil Bayik, and the former KCK chairman Murat Karayilan.


July 2013

The two new co-chairs of the executive council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), Bese Hozat and Cemil Bayık as well as the former KCK chairman of the executive council and the current supreme commander of the Kurdish Peoples’ Defence Forces (HPG) Murat Karayılan, talked to the news agency Firat (ANF) after the exceptional 9th general assembly of Kongra-Gel. During the general assembly the democratic solution process was the main topic. In this interview Karayılan explained that the coming weeks will be of great importance. ‘With the current attitude of the government, the process will not progress further. Even though the process has not come to a standstill yet, it is at risk of coming to a halt,’ explained Karayılan.

Continue reading

Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) launched an international campaign to set free all journalists in Turkey. Here is the latest update.

Latest News

  • 10 July 2013 – The Gezi protests have shown the rampant institutional bias in Turkey’s media which now leaves little room for facts, by Burcu Baykurt in LSE
  • 10 July 2013 – Female journalist Zeynep Kuray not to get Alpi Award in Italy because of judicial travel ban, ANSA
  • 10 July 2013 – Turkey: End police violence against journalists. (DE, FR, TR), by Sedat Erdin in Hürriyet
  • 8 July 2013 – 13 reporters have been injured and 2 arrested, Bianet in Turkish
  • 8 July 2013 – Turkey police arrest 59 protesters (12 journalists), Voice of Russia
  • 8 July 2013 – Council of Europe: Turkey: police violence must not go unpunished, Council of Europe
  • 5 July 2013 – Plus de 60 journalistes emprisonnés, par Patrick Kamenka dans Humanité Dimanche (PDF)
  • 4 July 2013 – Journalistes derrière les barreaux, par François Janne d’Othée dans Afrique Asie (PDF)
  • 4 July 2013 – The Government of Poland and the MFA are concerned about the violence that occurred in Istanbul, Anna Sochanska in a letter to the President of EFJ
  • 2 July 2013 – Turkeyh : Press freedom fight continues as media crackdown escalates, in EFJ Focus newsletter

Continue reading

Turkey, peace talks and the PKK: full video

Last Friday, we held an important public event with distinguished expert speakers to discuss the current peace talks, possible disruptions to the process and the role of the PKK. Here is a full video of the speakers’ presentations:

Turkey, peace talks and the PKK, Freedom and Justice for the Kurds from Saman Gareeb on Vimeo.

International lawyers groups issue joint statement on KCK lawyers trial


International delegation observing lawyers trial 20 June in Istanbul


Today we, the undersigned, being a delegation of lawyers from five European countries, observed the fifth hearing, on the 20th June, 2013, of the trial of 46 lawyers, our colleagues, who face prosecution for being members of an illegal organisation, allegedly in the course of undertaking their professional duties, i.e acting as defence lawyers for the imprisoned Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

While the procedures used by the authorities leading up to the arrests, for example,  seizure of confidential and privileged documents including client files, unlawful and unwarranted phone tapping and intercepting of private correspondence including emails, violate internationally acknowledged standards in human rights law, we are concerned that the hearings themselves breach the various criteria to be complied with to ensure that trials are “fair”. The defendants have had very limited opportunities to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence which has appeared most speculative and flimsy, but when they have done, they have exposed the indictments as being more often in the realm of fantasy than of fact.

Continue reading

Margaret Owen: Blogs from Istanbul during fifth KCK lawyers trial hearing

Margaret Owen OBE, along with barrister Melanie Gingell and solicitor Ali Has, has continued  her excellent work as international trial monitor at the latest hearing of the KCK trial of 46 Kurdish lawyers, which took place last Thursday. Below are a series of blog posts written by Margaret about the ongoing protests in Istanbul, and of course about the latest developments in the trial.

Tuesday June 18th. Istanbul. Midnight.

We arrived in Istanbul late tonight, half expecting to find armed police, and even the army, blocking roads from the airport to the city, but all was strangely quiet.

Our taxi driver surprised us by saying that the city centre and Taksim square were deserted, and that the BBC and foreign media had grossly exaggerated the protest movement. He was quite angry at our questions and told us that now the demonstrations were all over and everyone had gone home.

Continue reading

BHRC launches latest report into KCK lawyers trial

Melanie Gingell, barrister from Tooks Chambers and member of the Bar Human Rights Committee, has written a report into the fourth hearing of the ongoing KCK  trial of 46 lawyers in Istanbul, which took place on 28 March 2013. Further observations of the hearing have already been provided by Margaret Owen and Tony Fisher, who joined Melanie at the Silivri court house as international monitors.

The report has been published on the BHRC website, where it is available for download.

The trials continues on 20 June 2013.

Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) pursues its international campaign to Set Free Journalists in Turkey.

Please find below the latest  news on the matter; note also that today the latest hearing in the KCK case in Istanbul takes place. EFJ is there observing the trial. You can find in-depth information following the link of 19 April. This Friday, a press conference at AJP in Brussels with observers who have been to Istanbul will report on the case.

·         19 April 2013 – KCK Press case: Set our colleagues free, says EFJ, EFJ website
·         18 April 2013 – European Parliament approves 2012 Turkey progress report, EP website
·         15 April 2013 – Tweeting Turkish pianist given sentence for blasphemy, Can Sezer/Ece Toksabay
·         8 April 2013 – Turkey peace talks positive; press freedom still in peril, Özgür Öğret
·         27 March 2013 – “Decriminalize dissent” – Amnesty International report
·         26 March 2013 – After 743 in prison still no freedom for Yalçin Küçük, EFJ website

Continue reading

Rojhelat Bulletin: Peace Process

Rojhelat has compiled a collection of news stories, statements from the Kurdish leadership, and analysis on the topic of the peace process, which we are making available for download (pdf). The bulletin includes articles by Cengiz Candar and Andrew Finkel, as well as interviews and statements from Murat Karayilan and Cemil Bayik, as is a very useful collection on the process up to this point.

Mass trials of lawyers and politicians in Turkey – Legal and political obstacles to the resolution of the Kurdish conflict


Mass trials of lawyers and politicians in Turkey –

 Legal and political obstacles to the resolution of the Kurdish conflict

Thursday 18 April 2013, 6.30pm

Tooks Chambers, 81 Farringdon St, City of London, London EC4A 4BL

This event is free and open to the public.

Two distinguished lawyers, former president of the Turkish Human Rights Association (HRA) Ms Reyhan Yalcindag, and renowned defence lawyer Mr Ercan Kanar, as well as Prof Nazan Ustundag, of Boğaziçi University, will be visiting London to take part in this panel discussion. Following their participation in a conference at Queens University Belfast on the Kurdish question in Turkey, we are pleased to invite these lawyers, academics and activists to share their considerable expertise with us. The event has been called by Peace in Kurdistan campaign, CAMPACC and the Kurdish Federation UK, and will be chaired by Ali Has, solicitor advocate and member of the Law Society Human Rights Committee.

Continue reading

‘Kurdish language allowed in court’: Margaret Owen reports from the fourth hearing of the lawyers trial

Below is a report written by Margaret Owen OBE, who last week acted as an international observer at the fourth hearing of a trial of 46 lawyers, being prosecuted as part of the KCK anti-terror trials. Ms Owen, a human rights barrister and a member of the Bar Human Rights Committee, was also joined by Ali Has, solicitor-advocate and member of the Law Society’s international human rights team; Melanie Gingell, barrister and representative of the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC); and lawyer Tony Fisher, a member of Law Society’s Human Rights Committee.

Further reports from the other delegates will follow in due course.

Kurdish language allowed in Court…

March 28th Thursday at last! The Kurdish language can be spoken in a Turkish court. Just 4 bailed. 22 remain in prison. Not much change.

Continue reading