1st Criminal Court of First Instance of Antalya sentenced fifteen people, among whom Poet Şükrü Erbaş and Hikmet Fidan, a Kurdish politician who was killed in 2005, to prison for nine moths for “talking n Kurdish” during the election process.
The incident that eventually brought the sentence was the speech given by Fidan at the opening of the election bureau of the Democratic People Party (DEHAP), closed later, in 2002. Erbaş, who was a candidate in the elections, was not there at the time, but his name was on the list of the invited.
The ruling has been protested in a press release by various writers and intellectuals lead by Aydın Çubukçu, Sİbel Özbdun, Zerrin Taşpınar and Ali Balkız at the Yüksel Street in Ankara.
Gürgöz: They sentenced the person who died four years ago
Lawyer Nusret Gürgöz, secretary of the Antalya Branch of the Contemporary Jurists Association (ÇHD), told bianet that the fact that Fidan who died four years ago showed what kind of trial they ha face.
According to Gürgöz, Erbaş and Şemsettin Kalay do not even know Kurdish and some of the people were not even in Manavgat, the place where the opening took place. Gürgöz said they appealed the decision for four of the suspects and they will take up their defense once the judgment is reversed.
Those who were sentenced are Celal Gülsavan Budak, Cevdet Çağlar, Şükrü Erbaş, Şemsettin Kalay, Yılmaz Yavuz, Ahmet Tozluyurt, Hikmet Fidan, Mehmet Gündüz, Rukiye Altılar, Hazne Yıldırım, Cemil Aktaş, Ömer Açar, Adnan Koçak Demir, İhsan Yıldız.
“Tragicomic and strange trial”
The victims held a press release at Antalya Journalists Association on Wednesday (December 17), describing the trial process at the time when the authorities are claiming they are going to take steps regarding the Kurdish problem as “tragicomic and strange.”
Erbaş said the problem was not him, but the inability to speak in Kurdish in public space and daily life without being under pressure.
Writer Hasan Kıyafet, too, stated that all the languages, including Kurdish, needed respect. He said he was punished forty years ago for describing Kurdish as one of the languages he spoke well at the back of his book published in 1969, and the Kurdish language is still a trial cause today.
Cevdet Çağlar, head of the Antalya province for the Democratic Society Party (DTP), said he was sued 67 times for similar reason.
Kalaycı stated that the authorities were alienating and punishing all the candidates from the DEHAP and the DTP for being Kurds. (EÖ/TK)
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