Independent daily Newspaper


 Old Archive RSS Feed    Advertise



 KCK Trial: Turkish court releases prominent publisher Ragip Zarakolu

  Kurd Net does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news information on this page


KCK Trial: Turkish court releases prominent publisher Ragip Zarakolu  10.4.2012  
By staff writers

Ragıp Zarakolu arrested in November 2011 in Turkey in KCK probe. Zarakolu is a Turkish human rights activist and publisher who has long faced legal harassment for publishing books on controversial subjects in Turkey, especially on minority and human rights in Turkey.
See Related Links
15 suspects of the first KCK case, including publisher Ragip Zarakolu, are released today. The names of the released are listed below.

April 10
, 2012

ISTANBUL,— Turkey's prominent intellectual, human rights defender and publisher Ragıp Zarakolu, who was arrested in November on 'terrorism' charges as part of an investigation into the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), was released pending trial on Tuesday along with 14 other suspects in the case.

An indictment on the KCK, which is alleged to be an umbrella political organization that includes the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), was accepted by an Istanbul court last week. The prosecutor is seeking up to 15 years for Zarakolu on charges of “knowingly aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.”

The Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court, which accepted the indictment last Tuesday, released 15 of the 132 suspects who are currently under arrest as part of the case. The reasons the court cited for releasing the 15 were the period the suspects were imprisoned in comparison to the sentences prosecutors have requested for them, the “nature of the crime” and “the state of the evidence.” It was not clear what the court meant by the “state of the evidence” and it did not provide further explanation.

There are a total of 193 suspects in the case.

Professor Büşra Ersanlı, who was also arrested in November, was not among the 15 released on Tuesday. Ersanlı, who was a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) constitutional commission, faces up to 22-and-a-half years in jail on charges of leading a terrorist organization.

BIA Net has published the names as it was of the released are:

Ragıp Zarakolu, Muhsin Yenisöz, İrfan Hülakü, Lütfü Balbal, Ali Geritli, Songül Karatagna, Nahit Onat, Zeynal Çelik, Neci Elmas, Burhanettin Toprak, İsmail Zeybek, Evrim Öztürk, Yasin Yalçın, Cemalettin Gördegir, Alaattin Güneş.

According to the indictment, Professor Ersanlı is in charge of all BDP-affiliated Political Academies across Turkey. The prosecution has demanded 38 years for the professor, accusing her of being an executive leader for an armed group and propagating its cause.

Amnesty International sent a letter to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay last December calling for the release of Ersanlı and Zarakolu. Amnesty called on the authorities to prevent unfair prosecutions under anti-terrorism legislation by bringing the definition of terrorism in line with international standards and norms.

The European Union has also recently voiced concern about the indictment of Ersanlı and Zarakolu. In a statement from the press office of European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Füle, the EU said last week that the Counterterrorism Law (TMK) and its interpretation have caused concerns about the rule of law and fundamental freedoms.

On February 4, 2012, members from the Swedish Parliament nominate imprisoned Turkish publisher and human rights defender Ragıp Zarakolu who is in jail for KCK links for the Nobel Peace.

The arrests sparked criticism not only abroad, but in Turkey as well and led to discussion of the TMK, as dozens of journalists are being kept in prison. But prosecutors dismissed criticism of the imprisonment of the journalists, citing evidence presented in court.

“The Commission is concerned about the indictment of Turkish academic Prof. Busra Ersanli and writer Ragip Zarakolu. While underlining the Commission's full solidarity with Turkey in its struggle against terrorism, the Commission also stresses that such a struggle must be carried out in full respect of fundamental rights and freedoms. Both the Turkish anti-terror legislation and its interpretation raise concerns in this respect,” the statement read.

The first hearing in the case is scheduled to be held on July 2 at the Silivri Prison complex.

The KCK-trial began on October 18, 2010 when a Turkish court began the trial of 152 high profile Kurdish politicians and rights defenders. By the time the trial began many of the defendants had been in custody for a period of 18 months. Much of the evidence had apparently been gathered from wiretapping and phone bugging, and there was a lack of clarity regarding the exact charges, and the basis for such charges, against each defendant.

On Monday April 9, 2012 the trial against 152 the high profile Kurdish politicians resumed at Diyarbakir 6th High Criminal Court.

The trial is significant for the individual defendants, with each facing possible jail sentences of 15 years-to-life if found guilty. Further, the timing of the arrests has led many observers to question the state of democracy in Turkey. The number of defendants, their prolonged detention, the questionable means of collecting evidence, as well as the Court's attitude towards the use of the Kurdish language in the trial, has fanned fears that the accusations are politically motivated rather than based on violations of the law. Therefore, the trial is of a wider significance in terms of the implications it raises regarding democracy in Turkey and the state's attitude towards a political resolution of the Kurdish question.

Over 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 prison.

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.

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 2012.

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 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region 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 constitution.

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 expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, 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: Cihan | | | | | AFP | Reuters | | Agencies

Copyright © 2012 


  Kurd Net does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news information on this page


Copyright © 1998-2016 Kurd Net® . All rights reserved
All documents and images on this website are copyrighted and may not be used without the express
permission of the copyright holder.