Friends of the politician Aysel Tuğluk have penned a letter explaining their activities and calling for compassion: “We shall persist in our activities until Aysel Tuğluk and all sick prisoners in her position are freed.”
The following comments were included in the statement, penned with the heading, “Freedom for Aysel Tuğluk!”
“One of the most significant critera in the clarification of the level of democracy in a country is the state of its prisons. With its 384 prisons, its circa 300,000 prisoners and its human rights abuses, Turkey is a country retaining not one crumb of democracy. Its prisons contain 1605 sick prisoners, but for political reasons its sick prisoners, rather than being released, are left to die. Aysel Tuğluk is one of these political prisoners.
“Aysel Tuğluk is a politician and human rights activist who was co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress, and also an MP for both Diyarbakır and Van in two separate terms. She was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for statements and speeches she made during the period she was an MP, and has been in Kandıra prison for the last five years.”
“Aysel Tuğluk has been suffering from memory loss over the last two years as an inmate of Kandıra prison. She has been given a diagnosis of dementia by Kocaeli University Hospital, and is only able to continue life in prison with help from her friends.
“Members of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Kocaeli University issued a medical report to advise unanimously that Aysel Tuğluk “can no longer remain in prison”. Despite this the Ministry of Justice sent her for ratification to the Forensic Medicine Institution in Istanbul who, with an entirely political approach, issued a report to advise that she is indeed “able to remain in prison”. As a direct result of this her illness is worsening with each passing day.
“We are friends of Aysel Tuğluk forced to live in exile in Europe as a result of the political cleansing of our party the HDP (Peoples’ Democracy Party) by the AKP/MHP (Justice and Development Party – Nationalist Movement Party) coalition, we are MPs and assistant co-chairs of the HDP, who have worked together with her. If we had remained in Turkey we ourselves, like Aysel, would be in prison, due to sentences issued in a mockery of the law and of justice.
“With the aim of applying democratic pressure to the Ministry of Justice for Aysel’s immediate release and treatment for her serious illness, we as her friends have written letters to and established contact and arranged meetings with the press and the media, European parliamentarians, human rights institutions, health organisations, the CPT (Committee for the Prevention of Torture), the European Parliament and women’s organisations of the world, inviting them to solidarity with Aysel Tuğluk.
“We shall persist in our activities until Aysel Tuğluk and all sick prisoners in her position are freed.
“Freedom for Aysel Tuğluk! Freedom for Sick Prisoners!”
Selma Irmak (former HDP MP for Hakkari)
Leyla Birlik (former HDP MP for Şırnak)
Filiz Koçali (former HDP assistant co-Chair)
Yurdusev Özsokmenler (former HDP MP for Antep)
Dilek Öcalan (former HDP MP for Urfa)
Nursel Aydoğan (former HDP MP for Diyarbakır)
Saadet Becerikli (former HDP MP for Batman)
Sibel Yiğitalp (former HDP MP for Diyarbakır)
Leyla İmret (HDP Germany Representative and former co-mayor of Cizre)
Bedia Özgökçe (former co-mayor of Van, former HDP MP for Van
Tuğba Hezer (former HDP MP for Van)
Besime Konca (former HDP MP for Siirt)