AFP – REITERS – dpa – firatnews – Mesop – 29.1.2013 – DIYARBAKIR, Turkey’s Kurdish region,— Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) main trial has begun at Diyarbakir 6th High Criminal Court early Monday. 175 people, including Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies, mayors, human rights defenders and journalists, are tried in the scope of the KCK Diyarbakir case and among them 108 are standing trial while under arrest.
The hearing in Diyarbakir is attended by 50 defendants, including BDP’s jailed deputies Kemal Aktaş and Selma Irmak, as well as author Nuray Mert and lawyers and relatives of the defendants.
Before the beginning of the hearing, defense lawyers requested a translator from the court to enable defendants to express themselves in their mother tongue Kurdish. The chief judge rejected the demand saying that the law allowing defense in mother tongues at courts had still yet to officially come into force.
Following the approval of the law by the Parliament on 24 January, the first legal Kurdish defense was given by former mayor of Batman, Nejdet Atalay, on 25 January. Atalay’s plea in Kurdish was officially put in the court’s record. The new arrangement is part of a 13-article amendment proposal to the Criminal Procedure Code (CMK) and to the Law on Execution of Penalties and Security Precautions. The much-debated law will officially come into force after being published in the Official Gazette. KCK trials have made no progress so far because of the deadlock caused by the denial of the right for defendants to express themselves in their mother tongue.
The KCK is a clandestine group suspected of being the political wing of the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Authorities accuse the KCK of wanting to promote insurrection in Turkey’s Kurdish regions.
Since 2009, some 700 people have been arrested over alleged links to the KCK, according to government figures. Kurdish media puts the figure to over 3,500.
The KCK-trial began on October 18, 2010 when a Turkish court began the trial of 152 high profile Kurdish politicians and rights defenders, accused of being the urban wing of the outlawed separatist Kurdish PKK rebels.
Over 7748 people were taken into custody and over 3895 persons were arrested in the scope of KCK operations during the past nine months, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party announced. Dozens of BDP executives and employees are still in prison.
At least 567 people were detained by police from 10 December 2011 to 3 January 2012. Among the detainees, including mayors, students, children, human rights activists and union members, over 350 were remanded in custody and sent to prison.
On February 4, 2012, members from the Swedish Parliament nominate imprisoned Turkish publisher and human rights defender Ragıp Zarakolu who is in jail for KCK links for the Nobel Peace.
In March 2012 alone over 1,300 people have been detained. According to figures compiled by ANF news agency, at least 1,366 people were taken into custody within the scope of so-called KCK operations. KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Among them hundreds were sent to prison in Turkey within the last one month March 2012.
On May 8, 2012, 30 people are taken into custody in 6 provinces within the scope of Kurdistan Democratic Confederation (KCK) operations. Teams of the Anti-Terrorism Branch busted houses in Urfa, İstanbul, Muş, Ankara, Diyarbakır, Eskişehir, “Siyaset Akademisi (Politics Academy)” and Kurdish KURDİ-DER association (Kurdish Language Research and Development Association) of The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
On May 28, 2012, over 35 people detained in Urfa and Diyarbakir, many BDP executives are among the people taken into custody. New wave of searches and detentions on May 28 in Urfa and Diyarbakir where a total of 35 people, included many BDP executives, have been taken into custody.
On June 10, 2012 a Kurdish mayor Bekir Kaya, the mayor of the Kurdish city of Van in southeastern Turkey, and two provincial leaders in the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) wereremanded in custody pending trial, CNN Turk said.
On July 2, 2012, a mass trial opened in Turkey on Monday of 205 suspects — many of whom remain at large — are on trial accused of links with the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), which the authorities say is the urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), part of a wider crackdown against what Ankara considers “terrorists” and their supporters.
On July 13, 2012, an Istanbul court freed 16 suspects who are accused of ties with outlawed Kurdish rebels and had been in preventive custody for months, the state-run Anatolia agency said. Among the 16 was Prof. Busra Ersanli, a prominent political scientist at Marmara University, against whom the prosecution has requested a sentence of 15 years in jail for belonging to a “terrorist organisation.”On July 16, 2012, Fifty people, almost all lawyers, went on trial in Istanbul for alleged links with outlawed Kurdish PKK rebels as part of a wider crackdown on the group. The defendant lawyers in the second Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trial in Istanbul requested a stay of proceedings and the release of the defendants. The court rejected all their demands in the suit where some 46 lawyers are currently facing terrorism related charges.
On September 10, 2012, Forty-four people, many of them journalists, went on trial in Turkey Monday for alleged links to outlawed Kurdish rebels amid protests from human rights activists and opposition lawmakers.
On September 25, 2012, Turkish authorities have detained at least 42 people on charges of membership in the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) in the provinces of Mersin, Adana, Diyarbakır, Dersim and Batman.
On October 24, 2012, Turkey’s justice minister urged hundreds of hunger-striking Kurdish prisoners to end their protest. He said there were about 680 KCK prisoners on hunger strike since mid-September in several Turkish jails.
On November 26, 2012, At least 51 people have been taken into custody in the provinces of Van, Iğdır and Mersin in the Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey in the scope of KCK operation.
On December 8, 2012, Turkish police arrested dozens of Kurdish activists and politicians, Selim Sadak, mayor of Siirt, was among about 60 people detained in simultaneous operations in three southeastern Kurdish cities.
On January 3, 2013, A Turkish court sentenced to prison 40 Kurdsfor membership in the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), branded by authorities as a “terrorist organisation” and an urban wing of the Kurdish PKK rebels, the first verdict to come in a massive trial involving hundreds of suspects.
On January 24, 2013, Turkey’s parliament passed a law late Thursday giving Kurds the right to use their own language in court.