Ruşen Fırat, a Kurdish woman in Turkey, has been subjected to a unique 30-day court sanction where she must share the Turkish flag on her social media accounts. This follows her initial detention for a social media post made a decade ago.
Detained on 26 December in the Hınıs (Xinûs) district of Erzurum (Erzirom), she was interrogated about her social media activity. “The judge questioned me, ‘We have 12 martyrs. Why haven’t you shared the Turkish flag?'” Fırat recounted.
The judge’s reference to “12 martyrs” during Fırat’s interrogation appears to be a direct allusion to the recently escalated Turkish military casualties. Subsequently, the court mandated her to display the Turkish flag on her social media for 30 days, triggering widespread criticism.
“It’s a severe imposition, a forced situation. A person should do such things out of free will, not under coercion,” Fırat said, describing the court’s decision. She has appealed against this decision, viewing it as an undue and forced imposition.
The situation has led to heightened psychological distress for both Fırat and her family, who are related to the Kurdish figure Sheikh Said (Şêx Seîd). “These individuals are already prone to violence. They have threatened us, shared my home address, and continue to insult and verbally abuse us severely,” she explained.
Fırat perceives the penalty as being linked to her heritage, a perspective underscored by ongoing debates about Sheikh Said. “There has been ongoing discussion about Sheikh Said, and the timing of this penalty is very significant,” she stated. The abuse, she notes, is not only personal but also extends to insults against Sheikh Said and her ancestors.