Turkey: Court Sentences Singer to Two Years in Prison for Speech

by AHMerdan

TURKEY | 27 – 06 – 2012 | A specially authorized court in the eastern province of Malatya sentenced Kurdish-Alevi singer Ferhat Tunç to two years in prison on terrorism related charges due to his invocation of the names of deceased Turkish leftists during a speech on May 1, 2011.

The Malatya specially authorized Third Court for Serious Crimes sentenced Kurdish-Alevi singer and composer Ferhat Tunç to two years behind bars on the charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” due to his invocation of the names of deceased Turkish leftists Deniz Gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and İbrahim Kaypakkaya during a speech he gave on May 1, 2011 in the eastern province of Dersim (Tunceli.)

“I greet you all in the revolutionary spirit of Deniz Gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and İbrahim Kaypakkaya,” Ferhat Tunç had said during the May 1st celebrations in Dersim in 2011.

The decision was unexpected and politically motivated, Tunç told bianet.

Lawyer Ercan Kanar, who represents Tunç in court, also said the court had convicted his client on the claim that he was making propaganda on behalf of the Maoist Communist Party (MKP) because of his reference to İbrahim Kaypakkaya during the speech. Continue reading

Turkey: Mass arrests of journalists aimed at suppressing pro-Kurdish information and voices

Wave of Condemnation as Turkey Arrests Yet More Journalists

by , 21 December 2001

Istanbul, Turkey- Dawn on Tuesday brought an unfortunate wake up call to many Kurds and especially to journalists as a wave of arrests across Turkey picked up 40 people, most of whom are journalists.

The arrests came under the premise of alleged links to the Union of Committees in Kurdistan (KCK). Turkish “anti-terrorism” police specifically targeted pro-Kurdish media, mainly DIHA and ETHA news agencies, the Özgür Gündem daily newspaper, the Demokratik Modernite magazine and the Gün printing press. Turkish state media alleged that the recent wave of arrests was part of a two year long investigation into the KCK and its members. In addition, French Kurdish photographer Mustafa Ozer, who works for the French news agency Agence France Presse, was detained, smiling as he was carried away by security officers.

This wave of arrests is only the latest in Turkey’s sustained assault against the KCK and all those affiliated with it. The new arrests brings the number of journalists alone in Turkish prisoners over 90, making Turkey one of the worst countries in the world for imprisoning members of the media. Along with journalists, Turkey has been undertaking a systemic campaign of arresting children, activists, academics, politicians, and arguably any other powerful voice of dissent in the country.

Although for the most part Turkey’s unjust actions against the Kurds go unnoticed, the arrest of 40 Kurds, most of whom are journalists, has received some of the criticism is deserves. Hundreds of journalists gathered in Taksim Square in Istanbul to protest the arrests and demand that freedom of the press in Turkey be preserved and protected. “The imprisonment of journalists means the usurpation of our right for information” read the statement released at the demonstration. “We are here today to defend both our colleagues and the right of information.”

In addition, the international organization Reporters Without Borders released a statement saying they were “very concerned” by the latest arrests, and called on the Turkish government and authorities to “stop trying to criminalize journalism, including politically committed journalism.”

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) also released a statement, calling on all those who support the right of information and freedom of the press to protest Turkey’s many human rights abuses.

The detention of 40 journalists, all seeking to reveal the same truth about the situation of Kurds in Turkey, is in fact affecting the entire profession of journalism. With 40 less people reporting on Turkey’s marginalization of the Kurdish community, Turkey is further quashing voices of dissent in the name of anti-terrorism and clearing the path for even more human rights abuses in the future.

This article first appeared on our website KurdishRights.org.

Turkey: Revolutionary journalist, Comrade Suzan Zengin has passed away!

[Suzan Zengin, a political prisoner, suffered from the inhuman prison conditions in Turkey.  After being released from prison, her health deteriorated and led to her early demise.  A revolutionary journalist, activist, and internationalist, we salute her contributions she has made to the struggle under difficult conditions. — Frontlines ed.]


Suzan Zengin

17 October 2011

ISTANBUL | 17 – 10 – 2011 | We are very sad to inform the international progressive public that our comrade Suzan Zengin has passed away on October 12th 2011 due to an heart damage. She had been on the emergency room since 17 days. Reason for her intense illness was the inhuman prison conditions that exist in Turkey’s prisons.

On October 2008 in the early morning hours Suzan Zengin’s house was raided by special police forces and she was arrested and later on imprisoned. For more than half and a year Suzan was held at the Bakirkoy women’s’ prison in Istanbul without any reason. During her imprisonment she suffered from chronic illness and was not allowed to receive any treatment or the needed medicine. Just like many other democratic-progressive political prisoner Suzan was eye to eye with death behind the dark prison walls every day.

Comrade Suzan, was with her revolutionary-socialist identity always shoulder to shoulder with the workers and the toiling masses, took side with them during mobilizations and resistances. With her photo camera and her pens she was a inseparable part of  the workers and the toiling masses districts she wrote about their anger, their aspirations and hopes; she was the voice of those who organized the many occupations and strikes for a better live and free future. Continue reading

Turkey: Prisoners punished for singing political slogans

The Ankara Penal Authority Discipline Board penalized 63 prisoners in Sincan Prison for chanting slogans and singing on 1 May 2011, reported Antenna-Turkey in its Freedom of Expression Weekly Bulletin of 24 June 2011.

Six prisoners received a month of ban for visitors and 57 were banned from receiving communication and information media.

The case of the 63 prisoners in Sincan Prison is now being investigated.

The inmates appealed stating that singing on 1 May is not a crime. The Turkish state accepts 1 May as a public holiday and that it is celebrated with songs and slogans all over the world, the defendants counselor Evrim Deniz Karatana commented on what he termed an unnecessary and arbitrary sentencing.

Click to read more about Turkey


Antenna-tr.org – 24 June 2011:
Weekly Freedom of Expression Bulletin (No 25 – 2011)

Turkey: “WHO IS NEXT?” a call for solidarity against state repression


We call on all activists and human rights defenders to observe the trial of socialist politicians, 
journalists and human rights defenders which will begin 
on 13 April 2011, in Istanbul.

On September 21st 2010, socialist politicians, journalists and human rights defenders among whom 
are Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) president Dr. Rıdvan Turan, SDP and TÖP (The Platform for Social 
Freedom) executives and members, editors of journals Red and Bilim ve Gelecek, were arrested in 
Istanbul. SDP offices and homes of these people were raided by the Turkish police. Special operations 
teams, who were heavily armed and wore snow masks and steel vests, have made a mess out of homes and 
party offices, and seized computers and a number of visual and written materials. The prosecutor's 
office accuses the detained of membership of an illegal organization called Revolutionary Headquarters 
without any concrete proof put forward. Continue reading 

Turkey: Army jails stone-throwing children, sentences them to up to 50 years for ‘terrorism’

Jailing Kurdish Children to Undermine Dissent

By Daan Bauwens

DIYARBAKIR, Southeastern Turkey (IPS) – Turkey is signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, but that does not stop minors in the country’s Kurdish dominated eastern and southeastern regions from ending up with stiff jail sentences.

In fact, after amendments were recently made to the country’s anti-terror law, it is possible to charges children as terrorists and put them away for up to 50 years in jail.

According to official figures, there are currently 2,622 minors serving time in Turkish prisons. Earlier this week officials admitted that the figure was rising.

Lawyer Canan Atabay who represents the Diyarbakir Bar Association at the European Union and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and is also a member of the Justice for Children Initiative (JCI) that has opposed indiscriminate arrests and sentencing of children for the last three years believes that the law targets Kurdish children.

According to figures maintained by the JCI there are currently no fewer than 3,000 children being held in Turkish prisons. ‘’Almost all of them are Kurdish,’’ Atabay told IPS.

Turkey’s crackdown on children began in the aftermath of the 2006 street riots in Diyarbakir, a predominantly Kurdish city where support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that is struggling for the rights of Kurdish citizens runs high. In 2006, after the public funeral of 14 PKK members who were allegedly killed with chemical weapons, clashes between demonstrators and security forces broke out. Continue reading

Turkey: Security forces torture dissenters, enjoy impunity

Hooded prisoners take part in a protest in Istanbul against torture in Turkish prisons.

Torture – Live and Well in Turkey


By Jake R. Hess

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey  (IPS) – Six years after the ruling Justice and Development Party government declared ‘zero tolerance’ for torture, the practice prevails in Turkey, human rights monitors in the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeastern region say.

As part of its EU membership bid, the Turkish government has expanded legal protections against torture, which is explicitly banned in Turkish law and now carries a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence. Detained individuals now have the right to immediately access legal counsel and limits have been placed on the amount of time they can be held in custody without appearing before a judge, though these provisions can be temporarily withheld in the case of terror suspects.

Despite such widely-acclaimed changes, torture is far from being history in Turkey.

According to data provided by the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD), documented cases of torture dropped consistently in the years immediately following the announcement of the ‘zero tolerance’ policy, before more than doubling in the year 2008. Continue reading