The 53rd hearing of the Kobane trial, whose 108 defendants include former co-chairs and Central Executive Board members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), started on Tuesday on the premises of Sincan Prison in the Turkish capital Ankara.
The trial stems from protests that took place in various cities in Turkey between 6-8 October 2014 in response to the invasion of Rojava in northern Syria by the Islamic State (ISIS). The HDP argues that the trial is a political manoeuvre by the Turkish government to target the Kurdish population, their political institutions and their representatives.
“This conspiracy is aimed at suppressing the Kurds. You are defending the barbarity of ISIS. We are being tried for standing with the people of Kobane,” said defendant and former HDP co-chair Sebahat Tuncel at the hearing. She also criticised the Turkish government’s support for ISIS, which she claims has led to persecution of the Kurdish people in the region.
Tuncel further argued that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) had fought against ISIS, standing against their genocide of the Yazidi people in Sinjar. “The whole world applauds them for this, but you prosecute them,” she said.
The HDP criticised the Turkish government’s policies towards the Kurdish population. They remarked that the Republic of Turkey would not have been established without the presence of the Kurds, but that the Turkish state has consistently targeted the Kurdish population.
The HDP sees the trial as a demonstration of how the law is typically applied to the Kurds in Turkey. Tuncel concluded her statement by saying, “You are carrying out extrajudicial executions here.”
In a press statement during a break in the hearing, co-spokesman for the Green Left Party İbrahim Akın criticised the trial as a manifestation of an authoritarian regime. “This country has become an authoritarian police state. We are not the ones on trial here; it is we who are trying the authoritarian fascist regime,” he stated.