The Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk has been in prison for over five years. Despite all calls and ongoing campaigns for her release, she is still in Kocaeli Kandıra F-type High Security Prison. Turkey’s official Forensic Medicine Institute drew up a report at the beginning of February saying that she still had “criminal liability”, but neglected to pass comment on her fitness to remain in prison, despite her illness.
Ahmet Türk, who shared the position of co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) with Tuğluk from 2009 to 2014, spoke to Mezopotamya Agency (MA).
Türk describes Tuğluk as “The best politician, the best friend and the best comrade I know… She shared everything, had not even one iota of conceit, always took everyone’s views into account. Her belief in the people was complete. She was also a sincere politician and a sincere Kurd, who placed the importance of the people’s future before all else … It is for her thoughts and ideas that she is in a dungeon now…
“Her health is truly bad. She is not fit to remain in prison. But this administration wants us to pay a price for what we do. They treat us like enemies, but they need to show some humanity. It is truly inhumane to keep someone in that state of health in prison.”
Türk said that there was no prospect of Tuğluk recovering, and that she was unable to look after herself. “We may have different ideas, differences, even oppose each other politically, but this level of enmity towards someone who is not fit to be in prison is unacceptable.”
He recalled that the last time he saw Tuğluk, over a year ago, she was already unwell. “She sometimes does not recognise her friends. She has been known to get into bed with her shoes on. She can’t look after herself. It’s a virtual death sentence. The Ministry of Justice, the Forensic Medicine Institute and those running Turkey are prepared for people to die in prison.”
Türk was witness to incidents at the funeral of Aysel’s mother: “We were attacked by a group of people, who even attacked the grave itself. The police stood silent and pretty much waited for us to be lynched. Aysel had been allowed out for the funeral. She saw all that happened and heard all the abuse… It is impossible that she should forget that scene… Naturally it had a terrible effect on her. It was a severe trigger for her dementia. We are in a period of such lawlessness, injustice and oppression. This was the woman who raised Aysel, taught her, was there for her day and night, and to see this behaviour at the graveside was really hard for her. It could not be otherwise.”