Summer Recess for Trial on PKK Interview
The prosecution of human rights advocate Tahmaz and Birgün newspaper officials Çeşmecioğlu and Yılmaz was postponed to September. The defendants stand trial because of an interview with Murat Karayılan, leader of the People's Confederation of Kurdistan.
İstanbul - BIA News Center
03 June 2010, Thursday
The trial against human rights defender Hakan Tahmaz and Birgün newspaper officials İbrahim Çeşmecioğlu and Bülent Yılmaz based on the publication of an interview with executives of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was postponed to 12 September. The defendants are facing prison sentence of up to three years each.
The hearing on 1 June before the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court was attended by un-detained defendants Tahmaz and Çeşmecioğlu. The court decided to allow Çeşmecioğl's lawyer additional time in order to prepare his client's defence.
Human rights defender Tahmaz, Birgün newspaper editorial manager Çeşmecioğlu and Yılmaz, owner of the daily, stand accused of "publishing statements of PKK/KONGRAGEL" according to article 6/2 of the Anti-Terror Act (TMY). Reason for the prosecution is the interview entitled "Unilateral Ceasefire Amplifies the Problem" published in the Turkish left-wing daily on 9 August 2008.
Final decision expected soon
Court Prosecutor Savaş Kırbaş demanded to punish the three defendants on the grounds of the above mentitoned interview with Murat Karayılan, leader of the People's Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK), known as the umbrella organization of the PKK. The interview was made on Kandil Mountain in northern Iraq, where the PKK headquarters are located. Prosecutor Kırbaş requested a prison sentence of up to three years each for Tahmaz and Çeşmecioğlu. Yılmas is facing a heavy monetary fine.
Karayılan: We want to do politics as the PKK
The interview was pubished over four pages of the daily (10-13). It was said, "Hakan Tahmaz talked to KCK leader Karayılan on Kandil Mountain. Although Karayılan had emphasized that the person on the street did not want to live in violence any longer, he had also said that they would continue with activities related to what they called 'the legitimate war of defence'".
Karyılan had furthermore stated in the interview that 'they were not pursuing a separate state, but they were on the mountains because the Kurdish problem was being denied'. Karayılan had explainde that the Democratic Society Party (DTP) was an intermediate step for them and that they wanted to do politics as PKK. According to Karayıln, they did not see any contradiction in continuing their "legitimate war of defence". (EÖ/TK/VK)