Tahir Elçi, President of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, assassinated

November 28.2015, Tahir Elçi, President of the Diyarbakır Bar Association was assassinated at Balıkçılarbaşı in the commune of Sur.

Tahir Elçi had just concluded a press conference with a group of lawyers in front of the “Dört Ayaklı Minare” (the Four-Legged Minaret), a building damaged during the recent clashes. Immediately after his speech, around 11h, the group was targeted by gunfire. Shot to the head and gravely wounded, Tahir Elçi was transferred to the hospital, but could not be saved.

A policeman was also shot dead. Two policemen and the correspondent for the Anadolu Ajansi (AA) were wounded.

According to witnesses who spoke on the CNN Türk channel, a man first shot at the policemen standing near the group of lawyers and killed the policeman. Then, he moved closer to the group and shot at close range before fleeing while still firing his weapon.

Tahir Elçi had practiced law in Diyarbakir since 1992. He was a member of the directorate of the Diyarbakır Bar Association since 1998, and its President since 2006. He was also a member of the Scientific Council of the Human Rights Center of the Federation of Turkish Bar Associations.

Tahir’s last words were :

“The Four-Legged Minaret, a symbol of Diyarbakır, was unfortunately ‘wounded in the foot’. We want an end to armed clashes in historical sites, public places belonging to the population.”

This is very bad news and yet another serious assault on an essential institution of the counter-power, and echoes the jailing of journalists in recent days.

Tahir Elçi was a guest on Ahmet Hakan’s program on CNN Türk last October 14, before the November elections, along with Uygar Aktan, MHP member of Parliament for Istanbul (ultra-nationalist party). During the program the topic drifted to that of the PKK. Tahir Elçi gave his opinion “Why is this problem constantly being brought up? Look, in thirty years, a problem that has caused fifty thousand deaths won’t be solved with the solutions you keep bringing up. The PKK isn’t a terrorist organization but an armed political movement, with specific demands and serious support from the population.”
Following Uygar Aktan’s reaction “Once he says the PKK isn’t a terrorist organization, for my part, I have nothing to add” , Tahir Elçi had asked : “Is the State a terrorist organization? You will answer no. And yet, it regularly behaves like one…”
These statements led to charges against him.

On October 20 he was taken in for questioning from his office in Diyarbakır and charged with “apology of terrorism in the media” by an Istanbul court, before being released pending trial.
The prosecutor had requested a sentence of one to seven and a half years imprisonment.
In a speech pronounced in Burhaniye (Western Turkey), Erdogan said he was “saddened by Elçi’s death”.
“This incident shows how justified is our determination to fight terrorism,” he added. “We will pursue this battle to the end. We will not stop, we will not back down.”
Of course, he did not specify of which terrorism he spoke. And as his “fight against terrorism” mainly targets Kurdish populations, one could say this assassination is a part of it.

This is very bad news and yet another serious assault on an essential institution of the counter-power, and echoes the jailing of journalists in recent days.

Tahir Elçi was a guest on Ahmet Hakan’s program on CNN Türk last October 14, before the November elections, along with Uygar Aktan, MHP member of Parliament for Istanbul (ultra-nationalist party). During the program the topic drifted to that of the PKK. Tahir Elçi gave his opinion “Why is this problem constantly being brought up? Look, in thirty years, a problem that has caused fifty thousand deaths won’t be solved with the solutions you keep bringing up. The PKK isn’t a terrorist organization but an armed political movement, with specific demands and serious support from the population.”
Following Uygar Aktan’s reaction “Once he says the PKK isn’t a terrorist organization, for my part, I have nothing to add” , Tahir Elçi had asked : “Is the State a terrorist organization? You will answer no. And yet, it regularly behaves like one…”
These statements led to charges against him.

On October 20 he was taken in for questioning from his office in Diyarbakır and charged with “apology of terrorism in the media” by an Istanbul court, before being released pending trial.
The prosecutor had requested a sentence of one to seven and a half years imprisonment.
In a speech pronounced in Burhaniye (Western Turkey), Erdogan said he was “saddened by Elçi’s death”.
“This incident shows how justified is our determination to fight terrorism,” he added. “We will pursue this battle to the end. We will not stop, we will not back down.”
Of course, he did not specify of which terrorism he spoke. And as his “fight against terrorism” mainly targets Kurdish populations, one could say this assassination is a part of it.


French : Tahir Elçi, Président du Barreau de Diyarbakır, assassiné Cliquez pour lire

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Renée Lucie Bourges
Auteure, traductrice et interprète

Née au Québec dans une famille franco-irlandaise, elle a vécu et travaillé comme rédactrice et traductrice en Amérique et au Moyen Orient. Elle réside dorénavant dans le sud-ouest de la France d'où elle écrit des romans en anglais, et fraternise au quotidien avec tous les autres funambules de son espèce. Site Internet : iknowiknowiknowblog.wordpress.com
Renée Lucie Bourges

About Renée Lucie Bourges

Auteure, traductrice et interprète Née au Québec dans une famille franco-irlandaise, elle a vécu et travaillé comme rédactrice et traductrice en Amérique et au Moyen Orient. Elle réside dorénavant dans le sud-ouest de la France d'où elle écrit des romans en anglais, et fraternise au quotidien avec tous les autres funambules de son espèce. Site Internet : iknowiknowiknowblog.wordpress.com

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