Journalist Nedim Türfent, who was detained after reporting on human rights violations in Hakkari, Yüksekova district and sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization”, wrote a letter from Van Prison, where he has been detained for 1700 days.
In the letter he sent through his colleague İdris Yılmaz, Türfent paid his respects to four journalists arrested for reporting the torture in Van and journalist Abdurrahman Gök, who was requested by the state to be imprisoned for up to 20 years for photographing the moment when Kemal Kurkut was killed by a police bullet.
The entire letter published in the Media and Legal Studies Association (MLSA) and Yeni Yaşam Newspaper is as follows;
Our hope is based on the truth and the just nature of our struggle.
“I hold this pen next to that blue lake of the monosyllabic city [Van], though not within reach of my eyes, next to the black water with a bottomless injustice. I dared to use the adjective “bottomless” for injustice, because it embodies the gravity of the so-called laws of those who hold power and is deserving of such a heavy adjective.
It is tragicomic that as I am writing this letter, again, there are those who are using the “reform” perfunctory – not even rhetorically -.
Through centuries and through my personal five-year prison testimony, we have learned that the more authoritarian regimes prolong their existence with the semiotic relationship of crisis-making and repression practices, the more they need to oppress democratic and opposition groups. It fixed what we experience of each of us.
Before they even complete their sentences with the ‘reform’, operations are being held, continuously, one after the other, and the Kurd’s doors are broken with police raids.
Indeed, the whole country has been turned into a dungeon again since this self-evident perfunctory reform became cosmetic, like an ornament or a showcase.
Maybe it’s boring but I have to remind you that I wrote a report ‘’You will see the power of the Turk!”, and I was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison instead of the law enforcement personnel who are under investigation.
My journalist colleagues Nazan Sala, Şehriban Abi, Adnan Bilen and Cemil Uğur reported on the allegations of two Kurdish villagers being thrown from the helicopter. Although the officers of law enforcement were supposed to be the ones being investigated, it was actually journalists who were the ones arrested in a hurry.
Again, our journalist friend Abdurrahman Gök photographed the moment of Kemal Kurkut’s shooting by a police officer in Diyarbakır (Amed). The perpetrator was acquitted with the armor of impunity, but the journalist friend was sued.
There are many, many examples of such practices. Let’s take a good look at this photo: this is how the state practices against the Kurds.
We can easily understand from these three-sample photos that when it comes to state practices in Kurdish provinces, there has been a long tradition of impunity has been an extensively practiced and journalists who have reported the news to the public have always been punished.
Journalists are kept in prison with these unjust laws. However, the government is mistaken if they think this will stop us writing the truth. Because we are walking on the shoulders of journalists like Apé Musa and Metin Göktepe who have never gave up resisting.
Journalists write the truth with the risk of all possible costs and consequences but we continue to write.
Our hope is that we will come to an impasse in this legacy of injustice, our hope is that the truth and the just nature of our fight endure and help us to suceed.
Sooner or later we will bring freedom and democracy to this country, even if some people are scared.
Whether it will be sooner or later will be determined upon the majesty of our ability to stand up together.
Within this year we will go on together. Let’s do this together.
Nedim Türfent as a journalist was detained in Hakkari Yüksekova on May 12, 2016 while he was a reporter for the Dicle News Agency (DİHA), which was closed with a decree. One day after he was detained on the grounds of “membership in a terrorist organisation”. The indictment was issued 13 months after his detention, when his first hearing took place June 14, 2017. The court sentenced Türfent to 8 years and 9 months imprisonment in December 2017, based on the first witness statements which was obtained under torture. On May 21, 2019, his sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court. Nedim’s individual application to the European Court of Human Rights is waiting to be evaluated.