A Turkish court dismissed the pleas of Figen Yüksekdağ and Gültan Kışanak to postpone their defence day despite the recent deaths in their families, during Thursday’s hearing of the Kobani trial involving several Kurdish politicians.
Yüksekdağ, the former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), is mourning the loss of her brother Necmi Yüksekdağ on 1 November, while Gültan Kışanak, the former mayor of Diyarbakır (Amed), is grieving for her sister Zeynep Özer, who passed away on 9 September. Both had requested a delay in their defence proceedings citing their right to grieve.
The court, however, ruled that the defence of the detained politicians would only be heard if they applied for defence dates by Monday. This decision has sparked objections from the legal team, with lawyer Kenan Maçoğlu arguing that denying the right to grieve was neither humane nor moral. Maçoğlu emphasised that the order of the defence had been altered due to condolences, and the legal team was already preparing with their clients accordingly. He stated that they were ready to present the defence after the conclusion of other scheduled defences. The court has yet to make a decision on this request.
The Kobani trial, initiated in April 2021 after the production of a December 2020 indictment, focuses on events from October 2014, when protests erupted over the Turkish government’s perceived inaction during the Islamic State (ISIS) siege of the Syrian town of Kobani (Kobanê). Accusations of inciting violence and arrests of HDP members, including key politicians, followed these protests. The trial seeks aggravated life imprisonment for the defendants on various charges, with many perceiving it as a political move to suppress the HDP and the broader Kurdish political movement in Turkey.