Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign held an online panel meeting, on January 27.
Feryal Clark, Labour MP for Enfield North, Beycan Taşkıran, the deputy chair of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), Murat Cepni, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP for Izmir in Turkey, Ozkan Özdemir, Co-chair of European Confederation of Oppressed Immigrants (Avegkon) and Steve Sweeney, International Editor at the Morning Star joined the meeting panel “Stop Attacks on Socialists and Kurds-Freedom for All Political Prisoners in Turkey” hosted by the Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign in London.
A supporter of Kurds and socialist activist Gökhan Güneş, who was kidnapped as he arrived at his workplace and bundled into a car by a group of men and ‘disappeared’, who returned to his home thanks to the solidarity shown around the world, also joined the panel as a special guest.
The full record of the online panel can be watched in Facebook via the live broadcast link.
Mark Campbell, moderator of the online meeting, opened the meeting with a brief introduction to the recent oppression of the Kurds and attacks targeting the socialists activists of the ESP.
Medyanews shares the summary translations of all Turkish-speaking guests of the online event.
Gökhan Güneş: “I am thankful to the international solidarity shown”
Gökhan Güneş spoke first at the event and explained the torture he was subjected to and evaluated his experience of the forced disappearance attempt that he survived: “I would like to first introduce myself. I am a construction worker, 23 years old, living in Istanbul. I define myself as a socialist individual. Such abductions, threats, detension have been experienced many times by our friends and citizens. They have attempted to abduct me before and they have been threatening me. On 20 January, I was going to work, in front of my workplace I was abducted by force by a few men, they used electro-shock on me, they put a black sack on my head and they took me a special place.
They have used systematic torture practice on me. They used electricity on me, they battered me, they threatened me with rape, for 5 days I have been systematically tortured like this. They released me in an empty field, outside the central parts of the city.
I knew that my friends and my family had asked where I was when I was abducted, but when I returned home and checked on the social media, I could not really believe how big was the solidarity shown. I could never have imagined such a broad international campaign would be organised to find me. Such solidarity made me very happy.
There is nothing much I can say. These people defined themselves as the ‘invisible powers’, but we know them from the past, from the 80s, from the 90s, from their previous acts… They keep doing what they have being doing for decades; that is why we know them. However we will not be intimidated by these attempts.
As a final message, I would like to thank all the people, all the friends who supported my family and who gave such an effort for the campaign launched to find me during the time when I was abducted by those people who define themselves as ‘the invisibles’. We are here. We will continue to struggle so that none of our friends be disappeared, or be subjected to the inhumane torture I endured or to be taken into illegal custody. I have experienced such a thing and I would not want any other friend to experience what I have been through. We should be keeping this issue on the agenda so that no such incident ever occurs again.”
Beycan Taşkıran: “There is the reality of the resistance against the oppression in Turkey”
Beycan Taşkıran, the Vice Co-Chair of the ESP, shared her evaluations regarding the ongoing attacks targeting their party and the major struggles in Turkey especially targeted by the Turkish government: “There is fascist dictatorship in Turkey and colonialism in Kurdistan. People suffer from this system at an intense level. People, who want to live with their beliefs, their culture, their thoughts, their ethnicity, face such violent attacks and Gökhan Güneş is an example of that.
Free Women’s Movement (TJA) activist Ayşe Gökkan has been recently taken in to custody with a decision of long term imprisonment. Especially Kurdish children and youth are targeted with drugs. Kurdish women are targeted specially by sexual violence, with rape and harassment. İpek Er, raped by a solider shows that state security forces target women. We have been seeing the tactics applied in the past, like the torture with dogs in Diyarbakır (Amed) Prison back in 1980s.
Our home was raided and our woman friends were sexually harassed and also abused verbally. “We can shoot you in the head,” the police said to intimidate women. They have pulled the hair of the women, hitting the women to the ground. Murders, custodies, detentions, arrests, physical and psychological attacks, sexual violence and abuse; these techniques are used against the political activist woman.
Our party has been a subject to major attacks from the Turkish government. They try to terrorize us by continuous raids to our party buildings. The last example of this Gökhan Güneş; they try to make you a state informant, they detain you, they put you in prison and if you do not stop your activism, they apply forced disappearance policies. This is meant as a message to all the activists to intimidate them; a new concept of attack to the resisting individuals.
There are peoples in the region, in Rojava, in Ain Issa who resist against the occupation. There is the working class resisting for their rights. There are the women resisting against femicides and sexual violences. There is the youth movement, especially in Boğaziçi University now. There are families who resist for their children; we have Peace Mothers, we have Saturday Mothers. There is the reality of the resistance in Turkey and Kurdistan and we are the socialist revolutionaries trying to support this wide range of resistances.”
Murat Çepni: “Naked violence in Turkey is not independent from the global capitalist system”
Murat Çepni, HDP’s MP for Izmir also shared his evaluations on how the violence emerging in Turkey is linked to the global system: “What Gökhan Güneş spoke about is the portrait of Turkey. For the last 4-5 years, the fascist coalition of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) wages the war against the opponents whilst they attack all the resisting parties and individuals in Turkey, including Kurds, Alevis, the women, the socialists etc. in order to break their resistance. Gökhan Güneş’s experience reflects and exposes the reality of Turkey.
Then again, what happens in Turkey is not independent from what happens around the world. We face the existential crisis of the capitalist-imperialist global system. Pandemic has shown that this system is no longer able to offer an alternative to the peoples of the world. The Turkish government applies the policies of the global capitalist system.
The states within this capitalist system work in close cooperation even when they have disputes sometimes. The struggle against the fascist coalition of AKP-MHP is part of the struggles of the people around the world.
We face a naked violence in Turkey that increases day by day. A new paradigm of struggle has emerged with the Peoples’ Democratic Party, where the Kurdish freedom struggle, where the struggle of the Alevi people, women’s struggle, youth struggle and many other struggles have united.
To annihilate and destroy the HDP is a strategic master plan for the Turkish government now. Therefore the HDP becomes the main subject of the government’s attacks.
49 of our 65 the municipalities governed by the our mayors, elected mayors of the HDP were appointed trustees by the state. We have hundreds of our party members jailed. We have faced a political genocide. A HDP Office in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district was raided and the posters and banners inside were considered as crime materials. The HDP and the socialists continue to support the ongoing working class protests as well as the ongoing ecology campaign in Turkey. We try to unite partial resistances around the country, but we have not been able to achieve this call. We try to call upon the peoples of the region and peoples of the world to unite the struggle.”
Should more attempts of forced dissapearances be expected in Turkey?
Regarding a question from a Medya News journalist whether the abduction of Gökhan Güneş represents a new era in Turkey and should it be expected that the counter-guerilla tactics would be observed more of attempts of forced disappearances in the upcoming period in the country, Murat Çepni answered:
“In 2016, after the coup D’Etat, the concept of forced disappearance was introduced.
There are many people abducted and still remain ‘disappeared’ in Turkey since the 15 July coup D’etat attempt. The policy of intimidation of the Turkish states mainly works in two ways. Long duration of detentions, the first way. Abducting young activists for a few hours, but in Gökhan’s case it was for days, and forcing them to be the state informants, the second way.
So, this is not the beginning I can say, but Gökhan represents a certain unique level of this ongoing practice, He was found and saved by a massive campaign asking ‘Where is Gökhan Güneş?’
Other recent examples include Hüseyin Galip Küçüközyiğit and Yusus Bilge Tunç were abducted, too and their whereabouts have been unknown for months now. Ayten Öztürk was abducted in Lebanon and brought to Turkey and she was tortured for a month before being sent to prison.”
The meeting ended with question and answers session after 2 hours.