Speaking in the latest hearing session of the ‘Kobane Case’ in an Ankara court in Turkey, jailed Kurdish politician Sebahat Tuncel called upon the judges to treat laws with respect and made a special note that recent events proved them right for having previously criticised and rejected a former judge.
Referring to judge Bahtiyar Çolak, who was recently arrested on charges of being a member of an illegal group known as ‘Atadedeler’, and conspiring, Tuncel said on Tuesday:
“We were the ones who first rejected Bahtiyar Çolak. And you were partners in this case. We’ve been proved right.”
“We know how Bahçeli [Devlet Bahçelli, the leader of the ruling coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party] and Soylu [Süleyman Soylu, the current Turkish minister of the interior] and even the Turkish president’s advisors, have been intervening in this case. We do not know Bahtiyar Çolak in person, but the situation is of great importance as far as this trial is concerned. You are creating a farcical society, and we will not be a part of it. You are putting an entire people on trial in trialling us. You ask for respect for your posts, and you have the right. We ask for respect, too. You yell at us. You treat us as if we and our lawyers are the ones who are causing tension.”
Stating that the Turkish Criminal Procedure Code has been totally misinterpreted since the very beginning of the trial, Tuncel said:
“We do not have to comply with your irregularities. We are the ones who criticise these laws, but they are in effect, and you are supposed to respect them. Just bringing us here doesn’t mean that you’re actually providing us with the means of our defence.”
“The security of witnesses is important, but so is ours. I have rows of police officers and soldiers standing beside me right now. It’s as if this is one of the courts of 12 September [military courts after the 1980 coup in Turkey]. You ought to ensure our security. You can’t solve anything by just yelling. And reacting to such attitudes is something concerning human decency. We stand confident here. Who violated people’s right to life? Who provoked the [peace] process? We want this to be revealed.”
The ‘Kobane Case’
108 individuals, including the jailed former co-chairs of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), have been facing court charges. Charges include incitement of violence and allegedly causing multiple deaths through calling people to join 2014 demonstrations in solidarity with the north Syrian city of Kobane that was, at the time, under the siege of the Islamic State (ISIS).
The majority of the 46 were killed in individual incidents days after the largest demonstrations in 7-8 October, and most of the victims were supporters of the HDP, who is about to face trial on a closure case at the Turkish Constitutional Court over Kobane demonstration allegations.