Mass KCK trial in Turkey over links to
Kurdish PKK rebels
By Ekurd.net staff writers
Police blocked people wanting to
attend the hearing. The
Kurds demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds'
identity in its constitution and of their language
as a native language along with Turkish in the
country's Kurdish areas,
the party also demanded an end to
ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and
constitution against Kurds, ranting them full
political freedoms. Photo: ANF •
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Turkey: 205 on trial for
alleged links to Kurdish rebels
July 2, 2012
ISTANBUL, — A mass trial opened in Turkey
on Monday of over 200 people accused of links with
outlawed Kurdish rebels, part of a wider crackdown
against what Ankara considers "terrorists" and their
In all, 205 suspects -- many of whom remain at large
-- are on trial accused of links with the Union of
Kurdistan Communities (KCK), which the authorities
say is the urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK), the Anatolia news agency
Prosecutors accuse the defendants, who include
intellectuals, journalists and academics, of "aiding
terrorism" and distributing "separatist propaganda,"
according to Anatolia.
A total of 140 suspects in the case have been
The defendants include members of Turkey's main
Kurdish political organisation, the Peace and
Democracy Party (BDP), as well as prominent academic
Busra Ersanli and publisher Ragip Zarakolu.
"What they actually want to try here today is
democratic politics," charged BDP vice-chair Gulten
Kisanak, calling for a political solution to the
problems of Turkey's large Kurdish minority.
"The issue of democracy, the Kurdish problem cannot
be solved in courtrooms," she added.
Tensions ran high at the Istanbul court when many of
the defendants insisted on speaking Kurdish, their
"They speak Kurdish because they are Kurds. You can
not pretend that a language spoken by 20 million
people is unknown," defence lawyer Mehmet Emin Aktar
said, Anatolia reported.
The trial is part of a wider crackdown against the
outlawed Kurdish rebels and their supporters that
began in 2009.
Authorities accuse the KCK of wanting to
promote insurrection in Turkey's Kurdish regions.
Since 2009, some 700 people have been arrested over
alleged links to the KCK,www.ekurd.net
according to government
figures. Kurdish media puts the figure to over
KCK-trial began on October 18, 2010 when a Turkish
court began the trial
of 152 high profile Kurdish politicians and rights defenders,
accused of being the urban wing of the outlawed
separatist Kurdish PKK rebels.
7748 people were taken into
custody and over 3895 persons were
arrested in the scope of KCK operations during the past
nine months, the
pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party announced.
Dozens of BDP executives and employees are still in
At least 567 people were detained by police from 10
December 2011 to 3 January 2012. Among the
detainees, including mayors, students, children,
human rights activists and union members, over 350
were remanded in custody and sent to prison.
On February 4, 2012, members from the Swedish Parliament
Turkish publisher and human rights defender Ragıp Zarakolu
who is in jail for KCK links for the Nobel Peace.
In March 2012 alone over 1,300 people have been detained. According to figures
compiled by ANF news agency, at least 1,366 people were taken into custody
within the scope of so-called KCK
operations. KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) the alleged urban wing of
the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Among
them hundreds were sent to prison in Turkey within the last one month March
On May 8, 2012, 30 people are taken into custody in 6 provinces within the scope
of Kurdistan Democratic Confederation (KCK) operations. Teams of the
Anti-Terrorism Branch busted houses in Urfa, İstanbul, Muş, Ankara, Diyarbakır,
Eskişehir, "Siyaset Akademisi (Politics Academy)" and Kurdish KURDİ-DER
association (Kurdish Language Research and Development Association) of The Peace
and Democracy Party (BDP).
May 28, 2012, over 35 people detained in Urfa and Diyarbakir on Monday , many
BDP executives are among the people taken into custody. New wave of searches and
detentions on May 28 in Urfa and Diyarbakir where a total of 35 people, included
many BDP executives, have been taken into custody.
June 10, 2012 a Kurdish mayor Bekir Kaya, the mayor of the Kurdish city of Van
in southeastern Turkey, and two provincial leaders in the pro-Kurdish Peace and
Democracy Party (BDP) were
remanded in custody pending trial, CNN Turk
Ankara says the KCK wants to replace Turkish
government institutions in the southeastern Anatolia
region, which is majority Kurd, with its own
The number of Kurds living in Turkey is disputed,
but is believed to be about 12 million.
Reporters Without Borders criticised the trial,
saying it reflected the faults in the Turkish
"Using guilt by association and interpreting the law
in the most repressive manner possible, the justice
system is equating outspoken intellectuals with
armed terrorists," it said in a statement.
Monday's trial opened as the army said its warplanes
had hit three locations in northern Iraq, believed
to be Kurdish rebel hideouts, the third raid since a
rebel attack on an army outpost last month killed
eight Turkish soldiers.
However, the government has been easing its stance
on rights for the Kurdish community in Turkey, with
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying last
month that the Kurdish language would be taught as
elective course in public schools.
The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem,
Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.
Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been
fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the
constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a
Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who
constitute the greatest minority in Turkey,
numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's
Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees,
lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the
way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within
Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader
Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against
the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara and U.S. The PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
Sources: AFP | Reuters | CNN | ANF | ekurd.net | Agencies
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