The Initiative for Solidarity with Arrested Students (TÖDİ) once more rolled into action in Paris to show their support for Sevil Sevimli, a student arrested in Eskişehir after she arrived there to study on the Erasmus program. TÖDİ has been staging such demonstrations and press releases in Paris since January.
The affair also attracted the attention of the French media which frequently aired the issue of arrested students in Turkey last week.
Turkish officials arrested Sevimli, a French citizen, on May 10 on the charge of being a member of the left-wing Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C.)
"I learned of censuring"
TÖDİ's France branch issued a press release on Chatelet Square in Paris to lend their support for Sevimli's friends who had also staged a demonstration in Lyon and to draw attention to the plight of arrested students in Turkey.
"Since I entertain left-wing views, I read various books by foreign writers on this issue during my stay in France. I could not find any [such] books written by Turkish authors, however. For that reason, I started reading books by Turkish authors on left-wing political views when I arrived in Turkey, as this was within my field of interest," the demonstrators quoted Sevimli saying.
"I obtained these books from bookstores and libraries where they were freely being sold. [Officials] seized two books called the 'Communist Manifesto' and the 'ABC of Socialism,' as well as a magazine during a search at my house. I was not aware of a [legal] decision to round up the confiscated books and magazines. There was censure; so I learned," Sevimli said, according to the demonstrators.
"Do not turn a blind eye to the injustice in Turkey"
The protesters recounted Sevimli's experiences during the demonstration that was also attended by various left-wing parties and unions, and said there were over 600 arrested students in Turkey, adding that these policies were aimed first and foremost at Kurdish students.
The demonstrators also stressed that the struggle against the Anti-Terror Law and specially authorized courts was not unique to Turkey either, as such laws are often employed against dissidents in many part of the world.
TÖDİ's France branch then invited the French public, left-wing parties, unions and human rights advocates to join their struggle as well and to show solidarity.
"France and the European Parliament shows Turkey as a 'model of democracy' particularly for Arab countries in the international [arena.] Under the current circumstances, however, what the French government that talks about democracy at every turn truly needs to do is to cut off its support to the Turkish government. And thus goes our call to the public and to all advocates of human rights and freedom: 'Do not turn a blind eye to this injustice and these unlawful [practices,]'" said the press release.
The demonstrators then chanted slogans such as "Freedom for arrested students," "Abolish specially authorized courts" and "Abolish the Anti-Terror Law." The protesters concluded their meeting with the traditional "halay" dance. (ST/NV)