Turkey, ISIS and Kurds

This video says about itself:

24 January 2016

25 minute program about Turkey, Daesh [ISIS] and the PKK. Part 1.

Producer: Johnny Miller. Cameraman: Chris Den Hond. Translator: Berivan Akyol.

This week, an Istanbul court appointed a trustees’ board to take over management of the Feza Media Group, the owner of Turkey’s biggest-selling daily, Zaman, as well as Today’s Zaman and the Cihan news agency. Riot police forcibly broke down the gate and stormed the building, without bothering to deliver the court decision: here.

Have the UN, US and Russia just agreed to give more freedom to Kurds in Syria? Here.

Turkish Opposition Sues Erdogan Government for Supporting Terrorism: here.

ANKARA launched a full-scale offensive against its Kurdish minority yesterday, bombing refugee camps in northern Iraq and rounding up dozens of political activists across Turkey itself: here.

Turkey redefines journalists as terrorists, while U.S. claims the ally fights terrorism — which it actually supports. U.S. applauds NATO member Turkey for “combatting terrorism,” but Erdoğan fuels it — while carrying out state terror: here.

US-trained Chechen ISIS commander Abu Omar al-Shishani survives US assassination strike: here.

16 thoughts on “Turkey, ISIS and Kurds

  1. Pingback: ‘Stop European Union-Turkey anti-refugee deal’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  3. Saturday 26th
    posted by James Tweedie in World

    Closed-doors ruling provokes defiant protest

    THE TRIAL of two Turkish journalists who exposed government aid to Syrian extremists was postponed yesterday after MPs occupied the court in protest.

    The first hearing in the trial of Can Dundar, editor in chief of the Kemalist-aligned Cumhurriyet daily, and the newspaper’s Ankara correspondant Erdem Gul was adjourned after opposition MPs refused to leave the room in defiance of a ruling, in response to a prosecution request, that the case be heard behind closed doors.

    The Dogan news agency said the court had also accepted a petition for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) to be recognised as plaintiffs in the case.

    The pair were arrested and jailed on remand late last November after they published photos backing up earlier reports that the MIT had been caught smuggling lorryloads of arms, disguised as humanitarian aid, to insurgents in Syria.

    Border guards who discovered the arms shipment were arrested for doing their duty.

    Then prime minister Mr Erdogan tried to suppress reports of the incident, claiming the shipments were a state secret.

    The two journalists were freed from Silivri prison in Istanbul on February 26 after the Constitutional Court ruled that their detention violated their rights to liberty and freedom of expression.

    However, they still face charges of espionage and aiding the banned Hizmet movement of exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Mr Erdogan.

    Mr Dundar and Mr Gul’s detention and trial are part of a broader crackdown on the media by Nato member Turkey, which also aspires to join the European Union.

    On Thursday, Russia Today reporters said they had found evidence of Turkey’s covert dealings with Islamic State (Isis) in the recently liberated Syrian town of as-Shadadi.

    A documentary team found ledgers and invoices relating to the oil trade run by Isis from the town conquered by the Kurdish YPG militia 10 days earlier.

    One Isis militant captured in the battle revealed: “They are also providing Isis with food and other goods. Isis are also provided with money, weapons and ammunition.”

    Another militant said: “Turkey and Isis have a common enemy — YPG units.”



  4. Relations between Turkey and ISIS documented once again

    Documents seized by YPG and SDF refute Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s claims that Turkey prevents the passage of ISIS and Al-Nusra gangs into Syria. The hundreds of documents the SDF seized in the ISIS headquarters it captured in Til Hemis, Til Bırak, Hol, Kobanê, Mount Kızwan, Şeddadê and Gîrê Spî refute Turkish President Erdoğan’s claim that ‘ISIS captures are captured and sent back.’ In these documents, the passage of ISIS gangs from all across the world, particularly Kazakhstan, Indonesia, and Tajikistan, from Turkey to Syria can be seen. The documents prove that ISIS gangs have been using the airports in İstanbul and Adana, receiving residency permits from the Turkish government, and entering Syria and Rojava from Turkey since 2013.


    After the ISIS gangs’ massacre in the Belgian capital Brussels on March 22, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that Turkey had ‘captured the perpetrators of the massacre and sent them back to their countries.’ The documents the SDF seized in Şeddadê and Gîrê Spî show that hundreds of ISIS gangs traveled to Syria and Rojava with the help of the Turkish state. The Turkish state, whose ties to ISIS become clearer every day, claimed that they had warned Belgium about the gangs in order to cover up its responsibility. However, the documents SDF seized show that hundreds of ISIS gangs travel to Syria and Europe through Turkey.

    The aforementioned documents include bus tickets, electronic Turkish visas, residency permits, and documents with the stamps of Turkish immigrations and airport offices.


    The seized documents include residency permits lacking information on the dates of entrance and exit to Turkey, and show that the gangs primarily use Kilis and Urfa for crossing into Syria and Rojava.


    The Turkish state’s logistical and military aid to jihadist gangs in Syria shows that Turkey-ISIS relations are crystal clear. The documents seized by the SDF include information on the transportation of chemical and explosive materials from Turkey to Syria. One of the documents belongs to a jihadist from Kazakhstan called Bekmurzayev Meiirzhan, and another one signed by İstanbul Police Foreigners’ Deparment Manager Erkan Aydoğa belongs to Sultan Argerim also from Kazakhstan. SDF also seized a document showing that ISIS gang Mukysh Tolganay entered Turkey through İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen airport. Other documents show that Abdulaziz Abdullah from East Turkistan, Kiyomov Thumakul from Tajikistan, Syahhutra from Indonesia and hundreds of other ISIS gangs had residency permits issued by the Turkish state.

    Below, we share some of the documents that the SDF recently seized. We will soon share other documents on the Turkish language classes ISIS gangs receive, and Turkish manuals explaining how to make explosives and poison to jihadist gangs.

    Source; GİRÊ SPÎ – ANF 28-03-2016


  5. Did the Turkish specialist sergeant join ISIS as suicide bomber?

    There is information that Turkish soldiers are joining the gangs. Reports say Specialist Sergeant H. K. working in the Turkish army in Gever has joined the ISIS as a suicide bomber.

    The AKP/Palace’s support for ISIS gangs had come to light before, and now there is information that Turkish soldiers are joining the gangs.

    According to intelligence documents from Ankara Directorate of Security, Commando Specialist Sergeant H. K. was working in Dağlıca Mountain and Commando Brigade Command in Gever (Yüksekova) until June 2015 and he disappeared suddenly. His wife Semahat K. filed a missing persons report.

    Semahat K. stated in her report that her husband had taken a 2 month leave of absence and arrived in their home in Ankara, his family took him to Esenboğa Airport for him to rejoin his unit on June 19, 2015 and he was not heard from again after that date.


    The Security Directorate documents include some correspondence from H. K., who police started looking for as a “missing person with terrorist attribute” after his wife filed the report. H. K. wrote to his sister Fatma Pınar over WhatsApp and said he would “get revenge”, they “are not hurt”, his family “will see him on TV on his birthday (referring to his own birthday on September 15, 1990) when blood doesn’t flow”.

    In the Security Directorate documents, it is emphasized that “the individual left/might have left to join radical groups and terrorist organisation camps active in the conflict zones in Syria”, and that “H. K. might be looking to implement an action”.

    Source: ANKARA – ANF 29-04-2016


  6. Friday 17th June 2016

    posted by Morning Star in World

    Local docs say gunmen are patched up and go back to fight

    TURKISH hospitals have frequently treated Islamic State (Isis) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters before sending them back to Syria to resume fighting, according to Russian news agency RT.

    RT reporter Lizzie Phelan recently visited the city of Gaziantep, less than 40 miles from the Syrian border, where eyewitnesses and doctors told her that most of the Isis fighters are treated in the border city of Kilis south of Gaziantep.

    Both Isis and FSA fighters are able to cross the border from Syria into Turkey en masse and receive medical help before being allowed to return to Syria, local doctors’ association leader Hamza Agca told Ms Phelan.

    “Many wounded Isis militants or FSA fighters were brought to the border in pick-up trucks, not ambulances. Many were unconscious and bleeding when they were brought to us,” said Dr Agca.

    The injured men were apparently driven right from a war zone and doctors often had to deal with things like “grenades falling out of their pockets,” he added.

    Another doctor from Kilis described discovering suicide vests on some of the Isis patients and feeling terrified as he was forced to take them off.

    The doctor added that the flow of Isis militants being admitted to Turkish hospitals has decreased, but medics still see militants admitted every couple of weeks.

    When asked how the doctors felt about treating terrorists, Dr Agca said that medical professionals are under oath to help the injured, no matter who they are.

    “Any doctor throughout the world would do the same,” he said.“We treated these fighters and they went back to fight once they recovered, some were brought for a second or third time to our hospital,” Dr Agca added.

    He said that Turkish government officials ensured that Isis fighters were able to cross into Turkey with no obstacles.

    Ms Phelan’s report confirms information received in May that was leaked via tapped phone calls and handed to the media by opposition MP Erem Erdem.

    Ankara is unhappy about allegations of its collaboration with Isis and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government pushes for prosecution on treason charges of reporters and opposition MPs who air them.



  7. Pingback: Turkish regime keeps arresting journalists | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Erdoğan is letting ISIS terrorists loose on Europe

    It is becoming clear that the explosions starting after Erdoğan threatened European countries was not a coincidence. It has come to light that ISIS terrorists have been sent to Europe over Turkey after the threats.

    ISIS documents showcase what Turkey’s President Erdoğan and his government based their threats to European countries on. Notes written to ISIS’ Turkey head show that two people were assigned to be sent to Germany over Turkey.

    Notes written to ISIS’ Turkey head prove that the assignments given in European countries were made over Turkey. One of the confiscated documents is on ISIS’ Turkey head Abu Huzeyfa. The note addressed to Mihemed Oglea El Abdullah, known as Abu Huzeyfa, includes the following: “We are sending you this note so you will handle the business of the friends we are sending over. These friends are to be sent to infidel countries that attack the Islamic State to carry out some actions against them. Assist them and ensure their transfer.”

    The document is signed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of ISIS.


    One of the documents is dated November 7, 2016. It states that it was written within Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s knowledge and by his assignment. The document is for the assignment of Muhammed Mirli to cross over to Germany, it is addressed to ISIS’ Turkey head Mihemmed Oglea El Abdullah. It says: “Our brother Ednan Mihemmed Mirli has been given an assignment within the knowledge of Amir of Believers Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and upon his demand. Mirli has been assigned to cross over to Germany through you among the people. You will determine the perspective of what he needs to do in Germany in his meeting with you.”

    The second note is dated November 29, 2015 and it is addressed to Turkey’s ISIS head. It’s about a militant assigned to Germany. The note says: “Our brother Wail Naci El Heraki has been assigned by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to go to Turkey, and then cross over to Germany among the people.” There is a note that what he will do in Germany regarding his assignment was discussed with Wail Naci El Heraki.


    The documents remind one of the Turkish President Erdoğan’s threats of “What will happen if there are attacks here tomorrow?” made to France and Belgium and Germany again this year. After Erdoğan’s comments, ISIS carried out attacks in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany. The confiscated correspondence notes prove that these attacks were carried out by people assigned in Turkey.


    Erdoğan had made threats left and right after the tension between Turkey and the Netherlands, and support came from gangs involved in the al-Bab invasion the other day. The gang members with Turkish flags threatened the Netherlands and their government. The person in question spoke with a clear Turkish and argued that they were part of the global Turks and the situation interests them as well. People using the Seljuk emblem on social media stood out with their armed and threatening stance. The video argues that the Netherlands is an “enemy of Turkish-Islam” and concludes with “Allahu Akbar”.

    Source: MANBIJ – ANF – SEYİT EVRAN 16-03-2017


  9. ISIS suspect confesses having meetings with AKP mayor

    ISIS suspect Bahaa Alden Najeep confessed that they had repeated meetings with AKP mayor and former minister Fatma Şahin.

    According to a report by Evrensel daily, scandalous information emerged in the police indictment against Mehmet Kadir Cabael, one of the ISIS members responsible for October 10, 2015’s Ankara massacre and August 2016’s Antep wedding massacre.

    The police indictment which was sent to Ankara 4th Heavy Penal Court where the case on Ankara massacre is held, also consists of testimony of Bahaa Alden Najeep who was detained after the Antep massacre and sued for “membership to ISIS”.

    The indictment includes a confession by Najeep who states that mayor of AKP-held Antep Municipality and former minister Fatma Şahin called him and had meetings with him in 2014 during the process of mass demonstrations in solidarity with Kobanê.

    In his testimony to police on October 19, 2016, Najeep said: “She called me for a meeting on the problems of Syrians, and this continued mainly during the Kobanê demonstrations. They call me to have a meeting every two months, and I attend these meetings.”

    Najeep, Chairperson of the ‘Association for the Training and Development of Syrian Youths’ also stated that he founded the association on demand of Free Syrian Army (FSA) executives in order to transfer the aid sent from the US and other countries into Syria.

    Najeep also told that he knew Abdurrahman Alnajjar, a perpetrator in Antep massacre, personally, found him a flat to stay in Turkey, and paid him 700 dollars a month as he worked for him.

    Source: ANF 23-04-2017


  10. Flame thrower produced by Turkey captured from ISIS in Tabqa

    SDF fighters have seized arms including a flame thrower produced by Turkey for the army, in one of the neighborhoods they captured from ISIS following an assault last night.

    Clashes continue between YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and ISIS gangs in Tabqa town, a gate leading to ISIS’ self-claimed capital Raqqa city.

    In an immediate assault last night, SDF fighters cleared six neighborhoods of ISIS gangs who left behind a large quantity of ammunition as they got killed or fled the scenes of clashes.

    During today’s mop-up operations in the liberated areas, SDF fighters have captured many arms such as AK-47, BKC, B-7s as well as their munitions and explosives.

    Footage by ANF shows that the arms captured from ISIS groups include a flame thrower produced by Turkey’s Machinery and Chemical Industry Institution (MKEK) for the Turkish army.

    Among the ISIS arms seized by SDF are also arms ISIS produced for urban battle and a small rifle designed for assassination. The ISIS equipment also include wireless distribution device and various press and media equipment.

    Source: ANF News Desk 01-05-2017


  11. KCK’s Altun: Erdoğan is also the ideological financier for ISIS

    KCK Executive Council Member Rıza Altun said Turkish President Erdoğan provided the ISIS-Al Nusra gang activities with economic, military, political and ideological financing.

    KCK Executive Council Member Rıza Altun stated that the Erdoğan-led Turkish state is the fundamental force that caused the unleashed the trouble of ISIS-Nusra gangs on to the Middle East and continued: “Although this is known, Europe, the US and Russia don’t have a corresponding approach towards Turkey. Their strategy is unclear, one can’t tell what they foresee in the Middle East and their tactics are hard to understand.”

    ANF spoke to KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Member Rıza Altun about the situation centered around the Raqqa operation, the possible outcomes and the parties’ positions.

    What is the goal behind hitting the headquarters for SDF’s main constituent and leading force YPG, while the Raqqa operation continues?

    The outcome of the Raqqa operation will determine the fate of Syria. Breaking ISIS here will mean their ultimate defeat. It will open the door to a democratic, free and federal Syria. This is the foundation of the operation SDF carries out.

    Regional and international powers build their politics on top of this. Turkey isn’t a part of this operation, they were stopped at Manbij. The operation continued with the SDF bothers both Turkey and Russia. They both are not part of this process but the process continues in that front.

    When the SDF liberates Raqqa, it will be a strategic outcome for the SDF and their alliances, and a not good outcome for the Regime, Russia and Turkey. Actually, underneath Turkey’s last attack, there is also a wish to intervene with this, to make the YPG and SDF forces retreat from the Raqqa front, thus preventing Raqqa’s liberation and the SDF and the US from achieving a strategic result. “Everything will fall apart and when the deck is reshuffled, I can reinstate my politics to force myself as a stronger force. I can break this alliance apart and instate an alliance that is based on me,” is their tactical thinking.

    The first and last Shengal attacks are also connected to sabotaging the Raqqa operation.

    They will let ISIS live, ISIS will have a longer life, they will have sabotaged the victories to be achieved in the fight against ISIS and the results that would bring, and they will have deepened the chaos. In a deepened chaos, many forces will be hopeless and will reshuffle their hands. Politics and alliances will be reshaped and thus fortune will smile upon Turkey and the KDP once more.

    While all this is happening, where do the US, Europe and Russia, as well as regional forces, stand?

    Especially for the last 5 years, after the ISIS-Nusra gang structure flourished in Syria and Iraq, Turkey’s stance was clarified. The fundamental force that caused the unleashed the trouble of ISIS-Nusra gangs on to the Middle East is the Erdoğan-led Turkish state. Erdoğan is the main actor who provides them with economic, military, political and ideological financing.

    What do you mean by “ideological financing”?

    Constantly using Islamic arguments when he’s speaking is ideological financing. He is coming to the point where he is the ideological financier of ISIS. Even him saying Daesh instead of ISIS shows an ideological approach. He is constantly feeding ISIS in ideological, political, military and economic areas. His Iraq and Syria politics are also focused on opening up space for ISIS. He did this to pave the way for the state formation of the ISIS mindset and to generalize his hegemony over the Middle East through these centers.

    Isn’t there a counter approach that corresponds to this?

    Although this is the situation and everybody knows this, there is still no approach that could correspond to this. It’s the same for Europe, the US, and Russia. Strategies are unclear, one can’t tell what they foresee in the Middle East, and their tactics are hard to comprehend. In general, they say a democratic Middle East, that’s it. You can’t express a demand and an order by only saying “A democratic Middle East”.

    Can we go over the actors one by one?

    Sure, let’s look a little closer. These are all long discussions in themselves but I will briefly talk about them.

    – The US wants to keep Turkey in a balance, to bring Turkey to a position to serve US interests and to refrain from erasing it even at the point of erasure, despite all challenging approaches displayed by Turkey. They accept the allegations about them by the policies they follow.

    – Europe’s approach is worse. The EU, led by Germany, took all of Erdoğan’s allegations lying down. The EU reiterated their desire to see Erdoğan on their side. Erdoğan called them fascist, he put them down ideologically, politically, system-wise, culturally and morally. He did these with bells on. By saying “We won’t sever our relationship with Turkey, we want to continue our relationship, we want to see Erdoğan on our side”, Europe both legitimized the dubious referendum results and legitimized all that Erdoğan said. These politics feed the Erdoğan government to become more fascist. In this form, it is impossible to put the brakes on Erdoğan. If Erdoğan is encouraged, he will deepen his hegemony over the society and his attacks on all ethnic and faith groups in the region will be more violent.

    – Russia is in an unclean tactical relationship with Turkey, on the basis of the conflict they have with European and American presence in the Middle East and Russia’s alliance with Syria and Iran. They are also thinking of integrating the SDF into the regime by Turkey’s force. In fact, I don’t think the latest attack was carried out without Russia’s knowledge. I think Russia allowed such an attack. Like the US hit the regime, Russia could have hit the YPG headquarters via Turkey and taken their revenge.

    Can you give details on the Russia matter?

    For now, this is what I can say: There is only one reason behind Russia’s tactic and them pushing Turkey into Rojava. They want to use Turkey’s enmity towards Kurds to condemn them to Asad’s rule. That is their policy. This is a very dangerous policy and Russia definitely needs to give up on it.


    Let me explain:

    First, threatening Kurds with Turkey is a great delusion. They won’t achieve any results other than exposing themselves. Like they fought for the last 40 years, the Kurds will continue their fight against the Turks from now on as well.

    Second, strategically it’s a big mistake. The Kurds want a federal and democratic Syria. The Kurds who have this demand are a native people, they are not an external force or an extension of one. They brought Turkey in and made them enter Jarablus and Bab, and now they say they will do the same for Efrîn. So, will Turkey offer them their gratitude and just go back? When one thinks of it strategically, we are faced with a horrific thing. Unfortunately, pragmatic and tactical politics can lead to destruction of strategy for short term interests. There is such a danger right now.

    What is expected of those who applaud Turkey’s attack, those who paid the way for it and those who condone it?

    They may be greatly disappointed in the future. Bringing Turkey in is deepening the crisis, the chaos and the insolubility. Turkey stepping in like this may risk Syria fragmenting even deeper. Russia’s role is also key here.

    When they say they want to hand the Kurds over to the regime, they have to risk losing themselves, along with the regime.

    Source: ANF ROSA İKARUS/KAMAR ARARAT 06-05-2017


  12. Monday 18th September 2017

    ABOUT half of the families of Isis fighters being held in Iraqi refugee camps following the liberation of Mosul are Turkish, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said at the weekend.

    The revelation will put Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan under the spotlight as his government has repeatedly been accused of having links to the Islamist insurgency in Syria, with newspapers closed and journalists and MPs jailed for exposing shipments of armaments being delivered across the border.

    Mr Abadi also noted that Turkish troops were still stationed at the Bashiqa camp near Mosul despite Iraqi requests for them to withdraw.

    Turkey had promised to pull out when Isis was defeated, he said, and “now it is defeated in Nineveh” (the province containing Mosul), he expected the Turks to leave “very soon.”



  13. Monday 18th September 2017

    STEVE SWEENEY reports on the show trial of former People’s Democratic Party co-chair Figen Yuksekdag

    THE long-awaited trial of former People’s Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Figen Yuksekdag starts in Ankara today with one key component missing — the defendant herself.

    Yuksekdag was arrested during a series of co-ordinated night-time raids by the Turkish government in an anticipated move against HDP MPs in November last year.

    The Morning Star ran the headline “Tyrant” as images of democratically elected politicians being rounded up by police and taken to prison were beamed across the world.

    Many of them are still there on pretrial detention. All of them are being held on trumped-up charges of terrorism.

    Yuksekdag is accused of “managing a terrorist organisation,” “making terrorist propaganda,” “inciting violence” and “violating the law of demonstrations and gatherings.” If she is found found guilty, prosecutors are seeking an 83-year jail term.

    She is also facing terrorism charges for the speeches she gave in the Turkish Grand Assembly and her attendance at demonstrations for Kurdish rights.

    Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the HDP of funding a Kurdish insurgency against the government and supporting the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is deemed a terrorist organisation. The HDP denies the charges.

    The former HDP co-leader is already serving a one-year jail term after she was found guilty of chanting slogans that incited violence at the funeral of Yasemin Ciftci, a member of the country’s Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, which the Turkish government also deems a terrorist group affiliated to the PKK.

    A court ruling stripped Yuksekdag of her status as an MP soon afterwards — a move HDP said was “unconstitutional.”

    She was expected for her second court appearance in an Ankara courtroom this morning. However late on Saturday afternoon, we received notice that Yuksekdag would not be attending the court room due to the “illegality” and abuse of process.

    HDP officials told us: “Yukeskdag will not attend the trial on Monday due to all illegal implications during the court process. As you know, there is an attempt to hide the facts that will be revealed at the trial from the knowledge of public and international opinion.

    “They provided a very small courtroom that would hold only 20 people. And they moved the trial to Sincan, almost 20km away from the city centre. And lastly the court delegation took a negative stance against our demand for the people to observe the trial freely.”

    Yuksekdag’s message was clear. She said: “I will not accept this illegality. If our people, our executives, our members and our lawyers cannot come and listen to what I say freely, I will not participate in the trial statement.”

    The first court date in July — 242 days after she was arrested — was adjourned amid chaos. International observers were barred from attending the court by a heavy police presence and the British delegation was subjected to harassment from the Turkish authorities throughout the day.

    Human rights barrister Melanie Gingell explained: “We were stopped and ordered to leave our vehicle in the middle of the highway, close to the constitutional court where we were due to attend a press conference.

    “We were held by heavily armed riot police at the side of the road for nearlyan hour before being allowed to rejoin our vehicle.”

    She said that the hearing was delayed for two hours and the atmosphere was tense, with armed police filling the lobby of the courtroom.

    We anticipate the potential for some difficulties today with large numbers expected to attend again. It is not clear whether we will be allowed in the courtroom.

    However, we understand the trial will still go ahead.

    Yukesdag is an important figure as a woman’s voice in Turkish politics and, as she is ethnically Turkish and not a Kurd, she is seen as a symbolic link between the two groups.

    When I met HDP spokesman Osman Baydemir ahead of a special party meeting in Istanbul earlier this year, he told me the main reason for targeting Yuksekdag is to “sabotage the solidarity between the Turkish public and the Kurds.”

    He said the stripping of her status as an MP was unconstitutional and will be challenged by the HDP, but, he added defiantly: “One day Yuksekdag will come back to her party.”

    The chances of her receiving a free and fair trial are slim. This is a politically motivated trial designed and directed by the Turkish government to silence legitimate opposition.

    Yukeskdag is being symbolically represented by 1,200 lawyers, who are taking a stand against the Turkish government’s attacks on opposition politicians.

    Lawyers and the judiciary have also been subjected to purges, arrests and detentions under the state of emergency.

    It was the lifting of immunity from prosecution for lawmakers which paved the way for her arrest and other HDP MPs in November last year.

    The measure — which was supported by Turkey’s main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) — was politically motivated and a response to HDP’s electoral success after it broke through the arbitrarily high 10 per cent ballot threshold in June 2015.

    Erdogan needed to remove political opposition to his plans for constitutional changes both inside and outside the Turkish parliament and moved against the HDP in November last year.

    The HDP reports that nearly 8,000 members and hundreds of officials were arrested ahead of April’s constitutional referendum, which will grant Erdogan unprecedented powers as Turkey moves from a parliamentary to a presidential system.

    The move against the HDP and Yuksekdag was planned and premeditated. It is an attack on democracy which should concern us all.

    The crimes against the people of Turkey are well-documented. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been purged from their jobs under the state of emergency.

    Teachers and academics have been sacked for signing a petition for peace. And according to a 2016 survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey has more journalists in jail than any other country in the world.

    The continued and escalating war against the Kurdish population has seen whole towns and cities razed to the ground, thousands killed and a million people displaced.

    We will not be silenced. As journalists, it is our duty to report the truth and expose the brutal reality of the Turkish state.

    This is a country where crimes against humanity are being committed while the rest of the world turns a blind eye.

    Democracy is on trial in Turkey. But we must say enough is enough.

    Yuksekdag said in her first court appearance: “They demand one hundred years! If I had more lifetimes, I’d still do the same things. We have a cause of democracy and peace worthy of a century.”

    We are all Figen Yuksekdag.

    Steve Sweeney is a Morning Star reporter and part of the official British delegation to observe the trial — he is the only British journalist present at the court hearing.



  14. Pingback: Big pro-evolution biology demonstration in Turkey | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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