On Monday, an Ankara court began a trial against 108 members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including former co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş.
Announcing that some of their colleagues had not been allowed into the courtroom, defence lawyers walked out of the courtroom in protest as the defendants also subsequently refused to take part in the court proceedings in regards to the identification process in support of their lawyers, stating that their “legal right of defence” was being violated. As a result of the protests, all defence lawyers were then allowed into the courtroom and the historical “Kobani trial’ officially began as parts of the 3,530-page indictment began to be read out.
After the afternoon’s proceedings the hearing was then postponed until May 3.
The 6-8 October 2014 protests that began during an assault by Islamic State on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani triggered massive protests throughout Turkey’s Kurdish majority east and southeast. Ending with thirty-seven deaths
The 108 defendants in the Kobani trial are being charged with “homicide” over all the deaths during the Kobani protests in Turkey and with “disrupting the unity and territorial integrity” of the Turkish state.
HDP’s MP and Women Assembly Spokesperson Ayşe Acar Başaran shared her criticism of the extreme police measures outside the courtroom. “They attacked the journalists and did not allow the people to read a press statement. Actually, we had an idea how would the trial proceed, because we know that this trial was politically motivated and the government is one side of this case,” Başaran said.
She added: “This is a revenge operation. The ones sitting in the accusation chairs, the ministry of interiors, the head of the law enforcement are the ones responsible for those deaths in protests. They are the perpetrators in this trial, not us.
“Their intention is not to seek justice for those killed, they want to make the HDP a target and take revenge for the defeat of ISIS in Kobani. This is what all these trial games are about.”
HDP’s vice co-chair Tayyip Temel believes that the police blockade against the journalists who were at Sincan court to follow the trial is proof that this whole case is a “plot”.
“This showed that there are some things they want to hide from the public,” Temel said. “The police blockaded the journalists and turned on the sirens as the HDP co-chairs were reading a press statement in an effort to silence their voice. What happened in Sincan yesterday showed the level of the system of justice in this country,”
He went on: “The court judge’s attitude was almost in a way to verbally harrass the people and refusing to accept any legal request showed us all that this script which was written outside the courtroom were carried inside.
Despite all, our defence team, all of our co-chairs and MPs tried to expose the truth. With their pro govt partisan media, with the law enforcement forces, with the accusations aspect, they put all they have forward, yet they cannot find a single legal argument to accuse the HDP of.
“The trials that began in the Sincan court will turn into Kobani style resistance. Kobani didn’t fall and it will not fall in the courtrooms.”
HDP’s spokesperson Ebru Günay emphasised the words of the Turkish president during the protests when he said, “Kobani will fall”. According to Günay, the Kobani protests in Turkey took a major turn after Erdogan’s speech, which she defines as a “speech of his own victory”.
“He was trying to announce the victory of ISIS, but the Kurds and their international friends united around the Kobani resistance. And we do the same today. Such a massive support and solidarity despite the pandemic is all about the how people united around the light that Kobani resistance still shines today,” Günay said.