Court under criticism of majority of jurists and several journalists in Turkey. Extraordinary court gathered after release order for democratic lawyers and lifted its own decision…
The trial of the People’s Lawyers in Turkey, 17 of them imprisoned for a year, 3 of them charged without prison, was held from 10-14 th September 2018 in Istanbul. The court of Severe Crimes in Caglayan ordered the freedom for all 17 lawyers on 14 th September. The lawyers, members of the People’s Law Bureau and CHD (Progressive Jurists Association) read out their statements of defense for 5 days.
The court had decided to release the 17 lawyers on 14 th September, so they could leave the prison on 15 th September morning. Just out of the cell, another arrest order was announced against 12 of those lawyers to be enforced within 24 hours. The police forces, which already threatened the lawyers when they left the court room by pointing at their guns, started another hunt against the jurists.
The court confirmed the demand for arrest of the lawyers Behic Aşçı, Engin Gökoğlu, Aycan Çiçek, Aytaç Ünsal, Ahmet Mandacı and Selcuk Kozagacli, while it refused the state prosecutor’s demand to arrest lawyers Yaprak Türkmen, Yağmur Ereren Evin, Didem Baydar Ünsal, Ayşegül Çağatay and Zehra Özdemir.
- CHD chairman Selcuk Kozagacli came to court by his own will on 16 th September, though the prosecutor pretended there was doubt for escape. Same as his colleagues, he was attacked and beaten another time by police and he was taken to the police station. Next day, on 17 th September he was brought to Çağlayan court.
- Court president Gürlek limited the participation in the trial with 3 lawyers. Because the lawyers appealed against that, they didn’t enter at all. The statements of Kozagacli in order to reveal the practises, weren’t put into the protocol. The court room was filled with police. When the colleagues of lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı demanded to talk to him, they were pushed out of the room and he
was imprisoned without a lawyer.
- It was also reported, that during the police attack, lawyer Ilknur Alcan’s foot was wounded.
- Gürlek who defended that there was doubt for escape, stated, that defendants would make pressure to other defendants
- Selcuk Kozagacli (chair of CHD, Peoples Lawyers Office, second time before court within 3 days):”The court decision changed after it was beaten by a truncheon. You’ll be ashamed and suffocate from your own mistakes. You became so narrow-minded, you can’t even order an arrest without the presence of police. You’re not a court, the decisions you take aren’t court decisions!” he said.
- The house of lawyer Ezgi Çakır was raided by police. They broke up the door though nobody was at home at that time. The neighbours were told that they’d search for lawyer Süleyman Gökten.
- So far 6 of the 17 CHD lawyers, who were released 14 th September morning were arrested again.
- Several Bar Associations of Turkey protest this unlawfulness.
- Following the new arrest order Behic Aşçı, Engin Gökoğlu, Aycan Çiçek, Aytaç Ünsal, Ahmet Mandacı and Selcuk Kozagacli were sent to prison again on 17 th September. The police hunt againt lawyers and oppositionals continues!
Lawyer S. Kozagacli before his arrest: “I didn’t come here because I obey to that court decision, actually this is no court decision, has nothing to do with law, the courts don’t respect the constitution. I came to the Çağlayan court to demand reckoning!” Lawyers who were just released and arrested again after court decision was lifted, protested against attack in the courthouse.
The Trial of the Peoples Lawyers from 10th-14th September, which ended with release of all 17 imprisoned lawyers…
- All arrested lawyers were released in the trial! They thank to all colleagues and people for being with them!
- Police showed their guns to lawyers when they left the court room.
- The State prosecutor defended that all lawyers should stay in prison, without giving a concrete reason for it.
Summarize of defenses of the Peoples Lawyers at Caglayan Court (10-14 th September):
Lawyers were attacked for several minutes in the court room in front of dozens of international observers. The court wanted to force lawyers charged without prison to sit separately from imprisoned colleagues. This was rejected by the lawyers and the gendarms started to attack and to handcuff Selcuk Kozagacli, while breaking the glasses of lawyer Süleyman Gökten.
The charged lawyers appealed to the court president: “The lawyers want to talk to their clients. Do gendarms have the right to prevent them? Take measurements against the person, who tortured us, our clients aren’t safe. The gendarms take more initiative than you.”
Lawer A.Ünsal: „We were kicked in the face, dragged on the floor. We want that the persons who did that, are identificated. Dear President, we didn’t come here to fight with the gendarms, we came to speak out. But at once we were brought to the ground and they started to kick us. One colleague’s glasses were broken. As long as the gendarms are here, our safety isn’t granted at all”.
Judge spoke about 509 page indictment. After summary of indictment and identification of the lawyers started to charge the court during their defense…
Charged Lawyers: Ahmet Mandacı, Aycan Çiçek, Ayşegül Çağatay, Aytaç Ünsal, Barkın Timtik, Behiç Aşçı, Didem Baydar Ünsal, Ebru Timtik, Engin Gökoğlu, Ezgi Çakır, Naciye Demir, Özgür Yılmaz, Selçuk Kozağçlı, Süleyman Gökten, Şükrüye Erden, Yağmur Ereren Evin, Yaprak Türkmen, Zehra Özdemir (20 lawyers are charged in this trial. 17 of the lawyers above were imprisoned, 1 of them charged without prison, 2 lawyers are charged in absence).
Around 24 lawyers from Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Austria and others informed the court to be followers of this trial, as well a large number of jurists and human rights defenders from Turkey.
Lawyer of defense, Ayse Acinikli stated, that „According to the laws, the court isn’t authorized to charge them without taking permission from the Ministry of Justice, since all defendants are lawyers. This law was also ignored during investigation. While lawyers carry out their professsion, the government is obliged to provide conditions for them without any pressure. But in violation of international laws, they were confronted with repression and threats, even press statements were added to the file as a ‘crime’. Our clients are confronted with accusations despite of ECHRdecisions. It is considered as crime to go to police station for clients, to take trials of clients accused of being DHKPC members, to defend files of Soma-Ermenek miners.“
The defense demanded their freedom, arguing, that they can’t be charged for their professional activities. (Thhis demand was rejected by the court at the beginning)
Relatives of killed Soma miners, who were defended by the arrested lawyers and present in the court room called out to lawyer Selcuk Kozagacli: “Soma is proud of you, you are a child of Soma“!
Defense of CHD chairman and People’s Law Bureau lawyer Selcuk Kozagacli: “I don’t believe I’m before a court. I believe you are tablet of Potemkin board. You’re like a Potemkin board, which hides misery and poverty. You, the big court rooms are Potemkin boards, just unreal. It’s a very bad prepared indictment and file. Therefore I won’t explain anything special about the file. We don’t trust the Turkish penal judicial system. I will talk about a real issue; I’m going to say something. A judicial system which has got 37 departments for severe crimes, has become metastatic, it has got ill from cancer. We can see, how the jurisdiction rottened, how it began to smell. We’re not in front the board, but behind it. Being a lawyer is very dangerous. In this country, it is attempted to reveal “truth” with very
outrageous forms, by torture, psychological pressure, false documents. We’d prevented this so-called “truth” for several times and we’re proud of it.
The most degenerated, sleazy persons who were included as witnesses in our file, can’t tell any dishonoring word about us. They just say ‘They’re confidential, fight until the end, don’t leave their clients behind’. Actually they can’t say anything else. That’s the way we work. Both police officers, whom you just sent out of the court room, brought me to the ground and beat me to take my fingerprints. I’ve got an identity card, a lawyers identification. Do you think, there is need for taking my fingerprints another time? Is it necessary that you make these youngsters beat me up another time? Well, you let them beat me.
If 301 man die through the collapse of a mine, in the past or recently, I’m going to demand reckoning for those 301 men. Today they’re here (mentioning the killed miners families) and I’m thankful to all of them. We’re fighting since 4 years shoulder on shoulder. The paper here (Indictment) says shamelessly ‘This lawyer shams to legitimize himself’. We do our job on a field of violence. We are on the field where state violence and revolutionary violence confront each other.
Do you know the name of the lawyers of the perpetrators of massacres in this country? These lawyers do the same job as me. I am here because of violence used by my clients. This violence is a violence used against power. It doesn’t harm the people.
It’s not the power of arms and bombs of my clients that fears the state. It’s the violence against the power. Therefore you arrested us.
I don’t trust you, I’m ready for any verdict you give. I’ve trained dozens of apprentices, they are here in the room. Our tradition won’t end. We’ll never quail, never give up.
The state put hindrances before us, because we fought the torture. We’re going to fight it again and again.
The juridical center/core is broken, dispersed. Thousands of judges, prosecutors were sweeped. The courts work within the borders drawn by the team of Agar (notice: former head of police, ministry of Interior and Justice, charged in the political scandallous „Susurluk-trial“, when ties between politics and mafia were revealed. He confessed that he carried out 1000 operations in the name of the state, in which revolutionary oppositionals were extrajudicially killed by the counterguerilla).
A real juridication is based on the individuality, equivalence of the crime. You arrested people, who work in an office, who are apprendices, those who saluted the office. I did very hard lawyers’ jobs. Over 150 of my clients died. Some of them were in unrecognizablecondition, I had to join their autopsy. What we do is not something you can call ‘these lawyers like it to play leftist’. Next to my prison cell there’s a man, who alone has killed 50 people. Do you know the name of his lawyer? Do you know his lawyer? These lawyers do the same as me. They listen to their clients and say, ‘if you speak in that way, you’ll get as many years’..
I’m a socialist, I want the poor people to win, I want us to win. We’ll never ever forget, what is done to us or to the justice system or the poor people, and we won’t ever make it forgotten”
Defense of lawyer Sükriye Erden:
“In the years after 2000 a lynch policy was applied in Rize. In 2010, a large number of lawyers were arrested. 50 lawyers were detained, 36 arrested. And we again made the defense.
The massacre of lawyer Tahir Elci (Head of Bar Association of Diyarbakir-Amed), the Ankara massacre. We were always with our colleagues. At any period, when not even a leaf was moving, we went to the street.
The lawyers profession started 300 B.C. in Athens. In our country in the 18th century. I guess that’s why lawyers aren’t accepted in Turkey. Same as capitalism it was imported. The verdict says, I’d followed 1000 cases of detention. Well, you just wrote, that I did my lawyers job“.
Defense of lawyer Süleyman Gökten:
“I was arrested under torture a year ago. Our families and children were next to us. My daughter Idil was also with me. Men with snow masks came to break up the door. Our families won’t forget, what they did to us.
My 3 year old daughter Idil said later to her grandmother, that she wasn’t afraid at all. They can’t even frighten a 3 year old girl anymore. The constitution says a lot about rights, but they can never be used. We insist in statements in the street. They also put that in the file. Everybody was silenced, put under repression, imprisoned. We knew that we’d also be affected by this run. It is the way we practise our profession, especially because we defended Nuriye and Semih. For this purpose we wanted to go by bike with my daughter and her mother to Ankara. We were confronted with thousands of trouble, but didn’t give up and finally arrived there. We wanted to make a press statement and were arrested with torture.
At the construction company Toronlar 10 workers lost their lives when the elevator crashed to the ground. The trial was only opened because it became public. the real responsibles were never charged. It is attempted to take away the worker’s historical and political right to organise through a system of divide and rule. Everything was done to disable trade unions. Yellow unions, unions of bosses developed. Workers also resist that. Workers who reacted against poisoning by food, were dismissed. Along with the OHAL (emergency state) assassination of workers increased for 14%. Under the emergency state not any action was allowed. Not even assemblies in closed rooms were permitted. 20 strikes were banned. The strike of the Cam workers was banned. What they produce? Raki bottles, drinking glasses. The reason for the ban was ‘national security’. What’s the relation between production of Raki bottles and national security.
The workers didn’t recognize it and won their rights.
I didn’t just reveal that, I also opened a trial and explained that this was unlawful. Oya Baydak was dismissed by a trade union. I supported her resistance, joined her press statement and was beaten. I joined all activities of CHD. The file is not complete. CHD was closed in the middle of the night. But the activities still continue. Everything I mentioned was added to the file, as if these were secret activities. Everything was open. The real guilty ones will be brought before law and give account.“
Defense of lawyer Özgür Yilmaz:
“We thank all our families who are here with us. We thank the lawyers. We thank our people. It is our people who taught us. We learned everything from our people.
In 1994 our bureau was raided, then again in 1999, 2004 and 2013 operations were carried out against our offices. Those years were years of crisis and change. Today there’s another crisis in our country and we stay in prison. The crisis affects everyone.
1994 was a period of crisis, 1996 too. 2004 our bureau was raided, 2004 was the year of the European Union. Everyone knows, what happened 2013.
2018 another crisis in the country. As always, our bureau has to pay for this crisis. I’ve been charged for 25 years now. They still didn’t decide if I’m an organisation member. I’m a revolutionary for 25 years, a revolutionary lawyer. The State Security Courts (DGM), courts with special authority, didn’t establish that. Now its your turn.
They don’t want us to love our people and our country. They say ‘don’t love it, don’t struggle’. We went before so many judges, they didn’t give a decision. Now I say, easy to come for you!
We don’t carry out our lawyer profession in the way as you understand it. In a period, where everyone was silent, after 15th July, we held a sit-in in front of the prosecutor’s office to demand that I can visit my client. We got our right. I said, ‘you can’t make a search here. That’s a lawyers’ office. I was beaten, they broke our bones. In front of the hospital the pushed down our head. When we asked, they said ‘It’s the order of the prosecutor, don’t make troubles’.
What was my benefit during detention? My father died, when I was in custody. They forced us to naked search. The prison director said to me ‘My condolences’ and afterwards the torture continued. That’s the benefit I had. 4-5 investigations were united in this trial. Since 2015 3 prosecutors made investigations. The police said ‘We already listened them, there’s nothing’. But then Can Tuncay came again with the same demand. Each time they take us and bring us before court. They also cast a fly to you. There’s no material proof, again and again the same things. You also demand the same: Search them. You say SEGBIS (video chat) Why? Which law gives you that authority?
You don’t think about what’s happening after the decision. 2013 you made an operation. I lost my mother, I lost the parental right for my child. In 2017 I lost my father. 2018 I got ill. But I stand in front of you with revolutionary moral.
In this file they consider me as a leader. Why it was other persons in the last file and I won the lottery this time? What else happened? After 15th July there were actions against drugs in neighborhoods. I was there too. That’s it!.
A guy named Berk Ercan says, ‘l make a confession, but here torture is applied, I’m hungry, couldn’t speak to my family.’ Then they negotiated.
A stalker named Cengiz Sahin says ‘police wanted to help me’ and he made a statement against us. One of the accusations against me is the People’s Councils. The prosecutor has no information. Historically wrong information, what shall we say to the illiteracy of the prosecutor. They don’t want the people to find a solution for their problems. No, the people find solution for its problems by different methods. We, as people’s lawyers are on their side. What are those problems? Age for drug use has sunken to the age of 10.
The people shouldn’t find a solution? You say Okmeydani is a left neighborhood. Beneath that neighborhood there’s an AKP neighborhood. There the people were sitting and discussing this problem.They decided themselves to organize a demonstration.
400 teenagers were rehabilitated. Some of them wrote letters to me, saying ‘abi (resp.for elder brother), we’re well’. The state shouldn’t oppose that but support it. But it raided the rehabilitation center and pulled the young people to the ground. It was occupied and a center for special police was installed on its place. As soon as the people find solutions, they come and attack and establish police stations. The drug traffickers are very lucky that we’re here. Hasan Ferit was killed, but the gangs were totally relaxed in their trial. They are also happy we’re here. The people tried to find another solution for the poor. They established a ‘Peoples bakery’ in Gazi neighborhood. The police raided the place. Again the people tried to produce solutions, the engineers created the people’s garden. Police also raided.
We drew a profile, the profile of poor people. We accepted to be their lawyers. Of course poorpeople don’t have to pay for the mandate.
There’s a big attack against people’s culture. They attack Grup Yorum. We defend Grup Yorum as lawyers and will continue to defend the group. They gave concerts in stadiums before millions.
They did a lot to prevent the concerts. We also did many applications. Grup Yorum continues today with their concerts with new members. Grup Yorum is the people. There’s a slogan saying ‘Grup Yorum is the people, it can’t be silenced’. It’s really like that.
They tear down houses, we prevent that. They protect drug traffickers, we create drug rehabilitation centers. They kill the children of the people, we use our body as barricades. They say ‘poverty is a fate’, we say ‘We will destroy poverty’.
They enter the houses of people with arms, we stay in the poor people’s houses. We are no terrorists, it’s them. Those who gave verdicts before are now on our side. They say that they’d regret. They couldnt make a judgement for 25 years and now it’s your turn to do that. We’ll continue to be lawyers of the people. Thanks for listening.“
Defense of lawyer Didem BAYDAR ÜNSAL:
“Our mothers and fathers are proud of us. They know that we were pulled to the ground and tortured. They couldn’t intimidate us, we’re still in front of you with a smile.
When I started with the faculty I was an idealist, I believed in the rule of law. Within a short time I found out, that laws have nothing to do with justice. I found out that law didn’t become political, but that laws are part of policy anyway.
Exactly when I got this ideas, I met my husband Aytac. We are the most realistic dreamers. We promised each other, that even if we would separate, we wouldn’t give up our dreams. We didn’t give up our dreams, so we’re still smiling today.
The revolutionary lawyers knew better than anyone that the balance of law in our country was broken. They didn’t limit their struggle within court rooms.
Nazim Hikmet was arrested 80 years ago by prosecutors, who said ‘we’re not that naive to look for proofs in the file. The prosecutors and governments have changed, but not the injustice. Nazim was declared as betrayer of the fatherland in his time. His loyality to his country and people didn’t end.
My lawyer friends are working for very low wages besides the bosses. Though they didn’t want, they had to take also trials on drugs etc. In order not to be forced to do so, I worked together with my colleagues at the People’s Law Bureau.
What changed was, that tyranny turned out to be systematically. They were lawyers, who didn’t give up their right of defense and who didn’t kiss up to somebody. They taught me, that the struggle for rights is the most honorable struggle and so I decided for the People’s Law Bureau. We neither love money nor property. Our life is on the side of work and production. Surely, we have to earn money and some needs. But even if we don’t have money, we have a great family, our people behind us. We don’t have to hunger. The door of our office is always open to our people. But it is closed to police officers who oppress the people and to prosecutors who illegally try to enter. Our association ‘School of Justice’ was closed by emergency laws. Why did we found it? We want that revolutionary lawyers take roots. We want to educate jurists, who turn their head to the people. We made workshops with them. We wanted to teach them, how they’d meet with the theory they learn in practice.
We are imprisoned today, but our offices were opened with the help of the apprentices we’d educated. That door was the door of the workers. It was the fear of fascism. The booklet that was prepared by Süleyman Soylu for Nuriye and Semih was sent to the prison by my family. They found it risky and it wasn’t allowed to enter the prison.The booklet of the Interior Ministry wasn’t handed over by the Ministry of Justice. For what they really want to ask reckoning is, ‘how can you talk with organisation members, how can you become their lawyers. If you do that, you have to pay the price.’ We say ‘We are ready for paying that price’.
Nuriye and Semih only started with a hunger strike to get their jobs back. After they started they were arrested. Imagine, you’d be in their place. If an organisation is telling you, ‘stay hungry, don’t eat’. Would you obey? You wouldn’t. They also did that by their own will.
Defense of lawyer Ayşegül Çağatay:
“Thanks to our colleagues, who stood with our clients and visited them from the first moment we were arrested. They also attacked our families. The daughter of Sükriye Erden, Merve Önem was arrested too. We want her freedom. Our houses were raided, we were detained. Why this action film? I explain from my own experience. My parents were public workers for 40 years. I grew up in better conditions than many others. When I went to university my views on law crashed.
That’s not a preference but a necessity, a necessity to live with human values. While people’s children were murdered, some persons said ‘the police has written a legend’. But it was the people, who became a legend.
A dream became true, when I started as an apprentice in the People’s Law Bureau. I learned in our office the unlimited possibilities of a lawyer in the struggle for rights.
An old man in Africa said his sons before he died, that whoever would be able to fill a room would get his whole heritage. One of his sons poured sand in it but the room remained empty. Another son brought more sand, but the room was still empty. A son lighted a candle and the room was enlightened. That’s what Nuriye did.
Nuriye went out to protect her life, the right to work, her right to resist and she defended human honor. If there’s no right to resist, justice remains without defense and will be destroyed in the end.
Whatever the reason is, to imprison a monument is unique in history. The human rights monument in Ankara was arrested for 430 days. Nuriye went before that monument to defend the honor of being human. Nuriye went to this square every day, with the words of Pir Sultan ‘Whoever wants to return shall return, I won’t return from my way’. The rulers know well, that fear is infectious. But there’s something they don’t know: United silence becomes a Voice.
Accumulation of pain turns to happines, accumulation of fears turns to courage. That’s the dialectic of life. So, what happens when peoples like Nuriye accumulate? It is the end of the tyrant. They sent fines to Kemal Gün, who was on hunger strike in Dersim, as well as to the houses of visitors. As all things in capitalism, the freedom of expression also had a price. If you have money you can make a sit-in or a press statement.
When Uncle Kemal resisted in Dersim, he was fined but police didn’t come. At Yuksel the police detained and tortured the resisters every day and released them with fines. They actually told them ‘If you have money you can read a press statement’. They continued to go on the square every day. Not any application was registrated by the authorities. There was a blockade. It was only possible to remove this obstacle by proceeding to a higher level. Every contradiction can be solve.
They decided to make hunger strike. After the press statement they were detained and directly started with hunger strike. Esra Özakca was exactly dismissed from her job by emergency laws on that day. She went to the resistance square and announced a hunger strike until the detainees were released. The Yuksel resisters were released on parole and returned to Yuksel.
There’s a basic reality, if someone pursues a goal, the universum is with that person. Forces, who would never come together, come together show support. That’s what happened in Yuksel. Dozens of solidarity hunger strikes were carried out. The accusations directed to Nuriye and Semih were the confession of fascism for its fears: They imprisoned them, because resistance could turn out to another Tekel or Gezi resistance.
It’s not a crime for them to torture, but to say ‘there is torture’. The Yuksel street became the scene for the greatest resistance of the last years. OHAL expected people to capitulate Even the words ‘NuriyeSemih aren’t alone’ became a resistance. It even became a crime to place flowers to the monument. While resistances challenged fascism, the operations continued. They tried to prevent the resisters with house arrests, but they didn’t give up their struggle at the square. In the evening we went from neighborhood to neighborhoood to call for the trial and in the night we worked on the file. We didn’t puase for a single moment, always thought what else we could do.
We took place in several actions. Hunger strikes, press statements, our lawyers went from Istanbul to Ankara by bike. We can see, the more we hassled fascism, the more they attacked and hit us, the resistance grew, the resisters grew. The establishment of the (OHAL)-commission was result of Nuriye and Semih’s resistance. The hunger strikes ended but the resistances continue. Two times a day, the Yuksel resistance continues. We will continue to resist and to be lawyers for those who resist. We will win!
Defense of lawyer Engin Gökoğlu:
“I started my profession during the AKP government, who came to power by ‘fighting poverty’. But the development came for AKP and poverty for the people.
There’s the reality of torture in this country. I’m an eye witness, a victim. The police officers who broke my arm and smashed my ribs, told me on the way to hospital, they had respect before our lawyers practice. You have to know what you’re doing to us with imprisonment. In the prison Robocop police drag us on the floor, they spread foamy water from fire hoses into our cells. They dragged me over broken glass.
On October 30, they threw us completely naked to the ground of concrete and handcuffed our feet. They didn’t even bring me to the prison doctor. They didn’t provide treatment for my arm. They attacked us with fists and kicked us. We carried out our lawyer profession taking into account any price. We chose to resist not to remain silent.
We were arrested two days before the trial of our clients Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakca. 300.000 public workers were dismissed, attacked with gas, truncheons, with their police forces. They couldn’t silence a couple of hearts.
We gave interviews regarding Nuriye and Semih to newspapers and TVs, we spoke to deputies, from time to time we held guards at the Yuksel street. They asked us, and we applied to the commission. To the ECHR. We tried all we could.
Half of the wealth of the world is shared by a handful of parasites. Alone in Africa 150 million children are deprived from their right of education. It’s impossible to get used to injustice. That’s why they arrested us. We were arrested because we passed the borders, because we didn’t bend before the law of the rulers.
Our friends have told a lot already about isolation. There are such meanless things. They suddenly come to confiscate things we bought in the cantina. Letters of our imprisoned colleagues for the lawyers day arrived at mother’s Day. We said, rape is a crime, but you didn’t approve the investigation. We said, health ist a right, but you said, those who don’t have money shall die. We said, don’t kill the children of the people, you said ‘even if it is a baby, we will do what’s necessary’. We’ve neither given up the sky nor our dreams. May it be T-types or F-types, all prisons are isolation centers. I had to wait 11 months to take a photograph. Why? To hide the torture and my broken arm.
Let’s call it by name: We’re neither ruled by a palace regime but by a single man, we are ruled by fascism. There’s no other way in neocolonial countries. If there’s fascism, struggle is necessary. It’s impossible to ignore that and to wait until it’s over. I want to complain. While drugs can enter the prison, in which I am being held, books are prohibited.
Students, doctors, everybody is called a betrayer of the fatherland. They don’t even allow an opposition within the borders of the system. Bounties are put on the head of people in this country. That’s white-man-hunting. A father remained hungry 90 days for the bones of his son, the police who killed Ethem got a fine, even lower than the wage of a deputy. Today we’re confronted with a government which has lost it’s legitimacy. We told the judges the prosecutors not to behave like a provincial representative of the AKP. That point was reached long time agoIn Germany the judges were told ‘just decide what the Fuhrer decides’. We work in Turkey, that this is not happening. Before the elections the chief justice said ‘The OHAL won’t effect the basic rights and freedoms’. The judges of the Soma trial were taken from duty just at the level of decision. It can be said, that they were replaced with persons, who earlier judged in miner’s trials in name of the bosses. These judges were neither leftists nor socialists, but the system don’t want even good judges.
Our clients are released from prison, at the door they are arrested with other pretexts by the order of police and prosecutor. Actually, the prosecutor can come anytime to prison to question a person. But this is an application of the 12th September rule. The real reason for our arrest, I went on hunger strike for my clients Nuriye and Semih. I was taken to police custody on the 27 th day of my hunger strike. We think, this was the real reason for our arrest. Nuriye Gülmen was one of the people’s poor children. While continuing her academic work she was affected by the young people killed in the Gezi resistance. She went on the street for Ali Ismail and Berkin. As a result Nuriye was dismissed. She fought by law and for justice until the end. She won, but the decision wasn’t applied. And finally she was completely dismissed from her job. Are the rulers who oppress us that way stronger? Or does our weaknesses make them strong? Whatever makes us weak, we’ll repair it, we’ll learn and resist. Dialectic is teaching us, we’ll change. We’re not fearless, but we won’t be slaves of fear!
They don’t let us sing our songs. But in the banned streets neither songs nor resistance were missed. Today our streets continue to resist with Yuksel Street. People can held press statements thanks to the resisters. Nuriye said ‘Wherever exploitation is, there’s also resistance’. She added the anger of people to her struggle. Also intellectuals are ready to pay a price. Those who accuse everyone with ‘FETO’ collaborated many years with them. Nuriye didn’t accept and resisted. The tyrants attacked her every day. When she grew and got big attention, the dark guards suddenly said, the courts shall do, what they weren’t able to do. When they didn’t succeed, they did the same as they tried before, they arrested Nuriye and Semih. They asked Semih ‘You made organisation propaganda’. In these days saying Semih’s name meant propaganda. He said ‘I’m the propaganda in person’. We did all to get them out of jail, a thousand of lawyers defended them. The attacks made us stronger.
I’m the apprentice of Mr. Selcuk. Aysegül is my apprentice. Now you charge both of us. Aysegül’s work was to educate new revolutionary lawyers. Why? Among us there has to be a wolve. We’re ‘Ince Memed’, can’t stand injustice.“
Defense of lawyer Naciye Demir:
“If a human being has a bigger enemy than the repressive state, it is the immorality in itself. If I see the assassination of workers and keep silent, If I remain silent to all injustices, it’s not me. Therefore I don’t care that I’m imprisoned for a year. The documents in your hands are anything else but an indictment. I was sad for the paper, for the trees cutted. It’s impossible, that this indictment was prepared by someone who went through the law faculty. The witness in the file says ‘She is a lawyer’. Yes, I’m a lawyer, a lawyer of political trials. I have the right to select my clients.
Sıla Abalay was my client. She was a very clever, a beautiful girl. But they killed her. What should I do? Shouldn’t I follow the case? How could I look into the mirror, how could I sleep, if I hadn’t gone for her?
Serveto was burnt slowly, because he didn’t give up his ideas. His murderer said, ‘If you give up I will burn you quickly’. He didn’t accept and was burnt slowly. So, whose ideas are alive now? A human being lives for his or her ideas. I don’t have to say anything else.“
Defense of lawyer Yagmur Ereren:
“I was arrested in Ordu on 12 th September, at 5.00 a.m. and sent to Balikesir prison.They confiscatedd my lawyers calendar and my marriage CD. If this wouldn’t be a trial against lawyers, they wouldn’t take my lawyers agenda. Though it was said, that the file is secret, numerous news were written about us, when we were arrested.
We heard from the newspapers that our indictment was preprared. While our lawyers are even forbidden to go to the floor of the prosecutor, lies and false information were spread regarding the file through media. That’s how they created demagogy.
1977 workers were shot from roofs of houses. 36 workers were killed. After that Taksim was banned for 1 st of May. What did the media say ‘Leftists shot each other’. Today we know, that those people were killed by the counterguerilla”
In the file the fact that I’m the niece of Faruk Ereren was directed as accusation against me. They tried to create a file, but in cases they can’t create false proofs, even kinship was added to the file. I’m a lawyer since 3 years, 1 year I have spent in prison.Yesterday they attacked us in your court and kicked us on the floor. Imagine what we experiences with a year in prison.“
“They say, ‘don’t reject everything’. Unfortunately, we have a disease to ignore and we’re afraid to catch that illness. I know, that as soon as I leave the room, I’ll be handcuffed, but this shouldn’t happen inside the court room. We object this.
Our indictment has brought our prosecutor in such a difficult situation, he couldn’t open the trial by separating cases. The indictment of the persons who were separated from our file, were separated in alphabetical order. They can’t accuse us of any crime in relation with the hostage taking of the prosecutor, because everything happened in front of cameras. They feel helpless. They found a business card.
According to the indictment the lawyers are couriers. The lawyer’s role is to permanently bring documents and information. Is there no other person in an illegal organisation, so that lawyers should do this job? That means to undervaluing lawyers. There are many of irregularities in our file.They could also arrest us without killing the law. They want to get a message across to the lawyers through us. They made a list of lawyers visits and put it to the file! They say ‘Take care of your prison visits’. ‘Take care what books, what magazines you read’. ‘Take care what trials you defend’. By saying that, they want to get across a message to other lawyers. They do this for a political purpose. I can understand that. We are imprisoned because we defend real patriots, we are imprisoned, because we shout that it’s not legitime to close our association, because we stand against torture. My sister was tortured and arrested. The prosecutor didn’t identify the torturer and he fled. Yes, we fight torture. According to the penal law it is clearly torture, but they say us ‘did we apply electroshocks, so you can call it torture?’.
We went in the house where Günay Özarslan was killed. The prosecutor didn’t allow us to present for the finding. Later, we went inside that house, in which according to officials an armed confrontation took place, together with press members. There wasn’t a single shot trace from the opposite side. That’s what we identified. Do you think they like us?
We are also charged in other files. We’ll neither allow them to announce the people in Gazi nor in Sur as terrorists. Therefore we went until the entry of Sur. We revealed what happened there. They could simply charge us for this, but prefered to create false proofs. In a car in Adiyaman soldiers were killed. If they weren’t soldiers, they would have covered up the case and say ‘they helped terrorists’. It can’t be that easy to kill people. A lawyer is preventing that, reveals the murderers.They say, that we make pressure to clients to use the right of silence. Everywhere in the world socialists follow the principle to use their right of silence. It’s not just, when we bring them to mind this right. Socialists principally use the right of silence in the police stations. Ibrahim Kaypakkaya was pulled out parts of his flesh, but he didn’t speak. People like him were even silent while being hanged, getting electroshocks, facing heaviest torture.
I’m a lawyer, I won’t accept anything against my client. I’m going to oppose that.
The Saturday mothers are sitting for 700 weeks on this square. Why is that suddenly a crime? Who decides if that is a crime in this country? Süleyman Soylu? Yes, that’s a police state. I also struggle for the improvement of life conditions of the soldiers present here. But they have put in their head, that I am their enemy. This is the professionality of fascism. They say to journalists ‘They aren’t charged for journalism’. They also say for us ‘They aren’t charged for their lawyers’ profession’. Look at my file, everything about lawyership. It’s not specially against us. The trial against the Rosenbergs was also a plot trial. The trial against Dimitrov was a plot trial. The reason, why Dimitrov was saved from Hitler’s court, was international solidarity. If you arrest socialists, you arrest the truth. Release us and return from this error as soon as possible.“
Defense of lawyer Aytac Ünsal:
“The basis of the indictment is participation in judicial processes. We joined
because we are People’s Lawyers. We are the cry for justice of naked
corpses whose pictures are taken, corpses who are dragged on the ground,
of 432 orphans of Soma.
There are dollars burnt in the country. But that’s only the exposed face. The FSA, which was financed by American congress is trained in Kirsehir (Turkish ciitiy). We don’t forget the prime minister who said, I’m praying for the American soldiers.
We haven’t committed any crime against our people. The guilty ones are those who killed babies like Damla with hunger. It is those who kill babies from hunger in this country, which is rich of seas and food.
You know about the drug trafficking. It’s not enough to say ‘It’s forbidden’. Everyone knows, in the poor neighborhoods of Turkey there is massive drug trafficking. We were the lawyers of H.F.Gedik. Those who leave people to degeneration are guilty. If you look for terrorists, if you want to find a terrorist in us, don’t try in vain. You will find them in the registration numbers of those, who prepared these files.
Imperialism has killed thousands of people in Iraq. It wasn’t us who compared FSA with Kuvay-i Mili (Turkish Army) It wasn’t us who created the ISIL. We struggle imperialism. You look for a terrorist. Look at the Councill of Ministers, at the National Security Council, at the Ministry of Interior. You will find it. All those who died for revolution and socialism are here today. Köroglu is here, the Vietnamese people who defeated US-imperialism, the Palestinian children, Che, who said ‘never trust imperialism’, they all are here with us. Deniz Gezmis, who said ‘Long live completely independent Turkey’ on his way to the gallows, Hüseyin, Yusuf… They’re with us. Mahir Cayan, whose clothes still smell from gunpowder… Our killed colleagues Medet Serhat, Faik Candan, Fuat Erdogan. We took part in the Symposium against Isolation in Lebanon. They added this to the indictment. Isolation is a policy of imperialism. It is isolation they apply against Palestine. Isolation is a crime, therefore we joined. In France a resister named George Ibrahim is still not released though his prison time ended, above pressure of Israel. That’s justice in Europe. Our client Ayten Öztürk was kidnapped by the MIT (Turkish National Intelligence Organisation). For months she was tortured three times a day. These tortures, terrorism lists resulted from the US- Patriot Law of 2002. It is a central effort to terrorize us.
There are lawyers who accepted the record of their conversation with clients. We didn’t do that a single time in two years. We are a hindrance before this policy.“Defense of lawyer Yaprak Türkmen: “When our friends were arrested on 12th September, I was with them. 3 months later, though my name wasn’t even in the investigation file, I was arrested too. Why, me and Selcuk Kozagacli weren’t arrested on 12 th September but imprisoned 2-3 months after. We continued not to leave people without a lawyer. There were attacks on neighborhoods, which didn’t allow drug trafficking. Dozens of people in the age of 18-74 were arrested, kept in custody under torture. We didn’t leave them alone.
According to the prosecutor seeking for right and justice was an attitude of organisation, defense/protection of clients militance. After the arrest of the lawyers resistrictions were ordered against 110 lawyers. Despite that the people weren’t left without lawyers. Whatever may happen, the people’s defense won’t be finished.
In the prison they broke Engin’s arm. We announced this. We had at least 10 trials a day, and at least 10 of our clients were detained. We worked together with CHD and ÖHP lawyers. To understand this solidarity you must love the people. We are the lawyers of the suffering people. We are the people’ lawyers, without differing between religion, language or race. We live for each other.
We started the campaign ‘Today it was me who opened the People’s Law Bureau’. The trials weren’t left without lawyers. Look at the crowded court room. How can you finish us? I remained under isolation at Silivri prison for 7 months. Isolation is a means to conquer the personality of a person. I nourished a wounded baby bird. Getting rescued from isolation meant to overcome the prison walls. But the possibility that isolation could be broken, might have frightened the prison administration that much, that it raided my cell and took away the bird.
Defense of lawyer Behic Asci:
“I’m accused of being seen at the opening of the People’s Law Bureau in Amed (Diyarbakir). I didn’t go for the opening, I’m the host. I’m the lawyer of that bureau. I’ve got the key. I farewelled the guests and continued to work in that office. The first isolation prison was found in 1797. It was the bourgeois who built the prisons and the aim was to “correct” people’s attitude. In the 18th Century there was a technical change of the execution.
According to the recent execution law all prisoners are ill. It is claimed, that we, the political prisoners’ brain is ill. For example they want to count us in the prison standing up in a line. There’s such an ill executive regime, which is not even able to count a single person in isolation. Even that person shall stand up for counting. Do you want to understand isolation? When I was on death fast, a play was performed under the title “We’re all under Isolation”. The prisoners were selected among voluntary persons. In the play F-Type practices were performed. It was planned to play for 12 hours, but after 6 hours only people started to quarrel and the play was stopped.
One of my clients was attacked in a one-person cell, tortured by hitting his head against the wall. My client suffered from brain trauma. Later they wrote a protocoll saying: ‘He hit his head against the wall after an order with the directive of the organisation’. Prison uniform is a means for creating a prototype human being. You can’t make that wear anybody, it’s a matter of honor. A death fast resistance was carried out, 4 people gave their lives. The application had to be removed. As in the past, it won’t be accepted today. A special unit which entered the prison killed people by shattering their heads. The nineties are a history of massacres.
In Ulucanlar prison they cut my client Ismet Kavaklioglu with a saw. That’s why we go to the prisons. Our clients must not be cut with saws, killed and tortured. Before installing the F-Typ prisons, a delegation went to The Netherlands and researched the effect of isolation on people. 1 F-Type costs 8 million Dollars. Turkey doesn’t have money for that. The F-types were made with EU-budget, permission and leadership. Tuncay Özkan said to journalists ‘The F-Types are 5-star-hotels’. When he was imprisoned, he wasn’t even in an F-Type, but wrote again to journalists, that he was unter isolation.
In 1999 they gave us the possibility to observe the F-Types under construction. Even under the state of construction, I got the shivers.
On 19 th December (2000) they burnt alive 6 female prisoners. They handed me over two black peaces of coal. No head, no arm, no leg. Impossible to know, whom that was. Two families said ‘They’re all our children’ and took those two black pieces with them. On 19 th December we couldn’t establish the murderers of our clients, but we established the use of chemicals. White phosphor! How? It was used by Israel in Palestine. That’s how we established that. White phosphor let your skin burn, while the clothes don’t. My clients carried out death fast for 6 years. I had to take a decision and also started with death fast. It continued for 293 days and after 6 years, the Minister of Justice recognized that there was isolation.
They ask, how can a lawyer make death fast. Why shouldn’t he? Wherever repression and tyranny exists it is a right to resist. That’s even written in the constitution of 1960. But we don’t limit ourselves with laws. The resistance right belongs to the people. After death fast I was in a coma for 5 days. After these 5 days the first thing I wanted was my lawyers identification. There’s an action which ends with death. I can’t say, that I’ve outgrown the death, but I stopped to discuss on death fear. Better to die, than refusing to do something necessary by the reason of death fear. We don’t defend trials of a mafiosi or a ravisher. A mafiosi has offered us 1 million Lira to take his trial. We never accepted. We don’t look at lawyer profession to earn money or to make business. A lawyer even discusses justice in the most simple trial. Nobody can say, that I have done injustice. I am proud of that. This is because I stayed close to our principles. What I am today are the principles of our bureau. Even if we do not own anything, we are the most lucky people in the world.
We won’t wear the prison uniforms! Could we die? We could. They can put it on by force, we’ll pull it apart. We’re going to return these clothes as shred. On world scale Turkey is the country with the most prisoners. We are not responsible for that. We didn’t kill the workers, but defended the workers. We’ll never end our relation with the prisons. May we be inside or outside, we’re going to be lawyers for the prisoners. Sedat Peker said ‘We’re going to shed the blood of the academics in streams.’ It’s not us who said that. In this country a 2 months old baby died from hunger. It was this system that killed it, not ours.“
Defense of lawyer Ahmet Mandaci:
“Canan Coskun from Cumhuriyet newspaper was judged with 2 years prison for writing an article about our investigation file. Greetings to all journalists who do their job with honor. We’re in prison too because we honorably do our job. I was beaten already before in the court room as lawyer. Anyway, we’re in prison for our lawyers practice. The anti-terror branche has to do those operations every year. If less operations are carried out, the chiefs could be replaced. Those operations take place in periods, when political and economical crisis increase, when people feel the necesssity to revolt. The greatest fear of the government is a revolt similar to that of June 2013. Being lawyers of Nuriye and Semih was a special reason for this operation. That Süleyman Soylu came to the police headquarters during our detention, is a proof for the political character of this trial. Just as the government wants to create its own police and capital, it also wanted to create its own lawyers. We didn’t allow this. We tried to show responsibility towards our people.
There’s a government crisis in the country. The government tried to overcome this crisis. It has strengthened the reaction, the capital. They walked aside the Cemaat. When this commonship was detsroyed, again the people suffered from it. During OHAL (the emergency state) 16 strikes were banned, 1412 associations were shut down, law administrators were appointed to 969 companies, the value of the companies is 41 billion$. The government was darkener than the OHAL. Therefore OHAL was needed. Metin Feyzioğlu said, ‘There’s no proof for torture in this country’. The International Association of Barristers says, that 1488 lawyers were tortured in Turkey.“