Women who have been campaigning for the immediate release of prominent Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk, who is kept incarcerated despite her serious medical condition, submitted a petition to the Istanbul Bar Association on 5 April, marking ‘Lawyers’ Day’ in Turkey.
Through the petition the campaigners of ‘1000 Women for Aysel Tuğluk’ called upon all bar associations in Turkey to take action for the release of Tuğluk, a lawyer by profession and a member of the Istanbul Bar.
The call also urges action for the release of all ill prisoners in Turkey.
Tuğluk, former MP of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has been incarcerated since December 2016. Although she was diagnosed with dementia, she is denied release on the basis of a report by the Turkish Forensic Medicine Institution (ATK) which states that she is actually fit for prison conditions.
The ATK has been recently strongly criticised for issuing biased reports by the Chairperson of the Turkish Medical Association, Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı who said that independent medical institutions, not the ATK which is under the administration of the Turkish justice ministry, should examine and report on ill prisoners.
The campaigners of ‘1000 Women for Aysel Tuğluk’ have also been protesting against the ATK reports, saying that ‘ATK is committing a crime.’
6,000 signatures from 54 countries for Tuğluk’s release
Over 6,000 signatures from 54 countries have been collected in the “1000 Women for Aysel Tuğluk” campaign to date. The campaigners include prominent feminist activists and writers.
Participating in the campaign, feminist writer Silvia Federici called for the freedom of politician Aysel Tuğluk, saying: “We cannot accept that women like Aysel are being kept in prison. Aysel Tuğluk deserves our admiration and respect. Aysel Tuğluk deserves to be free.”
Feminist activist and writer Angela Davis also spoke out, saying: “Aysel Tuğluk is a peace fighter, not resorting to any kind of violence. Now she is being targeted with this inhumane punishment. Aysel Tuğluk is my sister.”
A group of campaigners are expected to visit Aysel Tuğluk at Kandıra Prison on Wednesday.