Statement written by Tony Simpson of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation and Patrick Deboosere, Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, who are part of an international delegation monitoring the trial of Ayse Berktay.
13 July 2012
More than 200 people are before the court charged with support for a terrorist organisation, the Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK). The vast majority are Kurdish members of the Peace and Democracy Party, which has 36 elected representatives in the Turkish Parliament. In addition, there are some Turkish supporters of the BDP, including our friend and colleague Ayse Berktay.
Ayse has been remanded in detention until the court reconvenes in October, together with most of the accused, although she has already been detained for nine months, since October 2011. The judges granted bail for an additional 16 accused, including the distinguished academic, Professor Busra Ersanli.
Our international delegation attended four of the eight days of proceedings. During this time only part of the 2,400 indictment was read to the court. Defendants had about an hour to make personal pleas, strictly in the Turkish language as the court refused to hear statements in the Kurdish language, although this was the preferred tongue of many of those in the dock. Fifteen individual defendants made such pleas. Continue reading