Ferhat Encü is the HDP’s elected member of parliament for Şırnak. He has been in detention since November 4 2016. He was arrested at the same time as nine other members of parliament, including HDP’s Co-Presidents Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ. Today, the prosecutor demanded against him a life sentence to be served in full.
In fact, the trial against Ferhat concerns the sequels to the « Roboski Massacre ». On December 28 2011, Turkish military planes bombed and killed 34 people on the Iraki-Turkey border, near the village of Uludere (Roboski in Kurdish).
Here is a quick overview of the two ongoing inquests : one for the massacre committed in Roboski, and another against the victims’ families, including Ferhat Encü.
Funeral of the Roboski victims
Following the massacre, an inquest was opened by the Sirnak Prosecutor for the Republic…against 31 one persons, including Ferhat Encü and the relatives of the victims for « assault » against Naif Yavuz, Uludere’s Governor who, on December 31, three days after the massacre, visited the victims’ families to « offer his condolences ».
It isn’t hard to understand that the Governor, as State representative, was not welcome on the premises designated for condolences, following a killing caused by the Turkish army…
Naturally, the greeting was… difficult…
In this massacre, Ferhat Encü himself lost his brother Serhat Encü, along with nine members of his family.
At the opening of the inquest, 16 of the 31 “accused” were taken into custody and kept in jail for several months.
The inquest on the Roboski Massacre
An inquest was opened on January 5 2012 concerning the murder of 34 villagers in Roboski but, following a game of ping pong between various courts, no real decision has been produced yet after five years of inquiry.
First, following a « confidentiality » ruling on August 5 2012, , it was handled by the Diyarbakır Prosecutor for the Republic. Following a decision of « non-jurisdiction », on June 11 2013, the files were transferred to the “appropriate jurisdiction” – that of the Prosecutor of the General Staff for having caused « the death by negligence ». The military court dismissed the case six months later on January 7 2014. The lawyers for the Roboski victims’ families appealed this decision. Their appeal was denied on June 20 2014.
On July 18, the families and their lawyers appealed again to the Constitutional Court. The Court refused the file on the death of 34 civilians, on the grounds that three of the fifty-three lawyers signing the request had not provided power of attorney documents… Determined in their search for justice, the families have explored all legal means since 2011. Thus, on August 24 2016, they appealed to the Europe’s Human Rights Tribunal. In passing, we note that Ferhat Encü is the one who sollicited the European tribunal on behalf of these families.
Where do things stand for Ferhat Encü?
During the inquest, Ferhat was arrested and detained in Kandira prison. He was accused of assault, during the protests against the Governor’s presence in the place reserved for condolences. He is charged with « kicking » the Governor…
Following the inquest, a trial was opened on November 9 2016, five years after the Roboski Massacre and the tumultuous condolences… The indictment was received and approved by the Sirnak Tribunal, and a sentence of « perpetuity to be served in full » requested by the prosecutor. In passing, a reminder that this sentence has replaced the death sentence after it was suppressed in July 2004 in Turkey. He is accused of « attempted murder on a public official in the exercise of his duties. » The Governor of that period, Naif Yavuz, appears in the file as the « plaintiff ».
In this same inquest, Ferhat was taken into custody, interrogated and released six times. Following his parliamentary immunity after his election in 2015, Ferhat Encü’s case was split off from the rest of the indictment and a request sent to Parliament to allow him to stand trial. Following the lifting of parliamentary immunity for the HDP members on May 20 2016, Ferhat was arrested on two files involving him, including that of Roboski, and his case recombined with the rest of the indictment. Justice announced that the trial was transferred from the Sirnak Tribunal to that of Diyarbakır « for security reasons ». The Diyarbakır Tribunal should announce the date of the next hearing in the coming days.
The indictment prepared by Sirnak’s prosecutor in lightning speed over five days, accuses the group of « attempted lynching » of the Governor during his condolence visit « with the use of stones, sticks, fists »… The prosecutor’s thesis claims that the policemen and the guards accompanying the Governor were also wounded and states that the Governor provided a medical report. However, said report notes that the victim « suffered slight wounds treated in a single visit ».
“The kick”, a strong symbol in Turkey
In order to understand, we must go back to the catastrophy in Soma where poor security conditions in the mine cost the lives of 301 miners. In shock and deeply angered, the victims’ relatives had denounced the lack of secutiry in the mine and protested vigorously when Tayyip Erdoğan, then Prime Minister, had visited the site. During the protests, while Erdal Kocakbıyık, a young miner who had lost his relatives and friends, was forcefully held by security, one of the Prime Minister’s advisors, Yusuf Yerkel, kicked him violently. The photo of this gesture, which speaks louder than a simple kick, was seen around the world and re-ignited the anger. As for the Minister’s advisor, he was never bothered nor did he resign from his post. But the miner was sentenced to a fine of 543 lTurkish lira (136€) for damage caused to an armored vehicle (!) for which damages of 2000 Turkish lira (500€) were purportedly claimed. In passing, no certificates or affidavits were produced in support of this claim.
This image being stamped into the country’s collective memory, the kick attributed to Ferhat Encü takes on a different meaning…
The impunity of advisors and other staff close to leaders performing acts of violence is nothing new. Tayyip Erdoğan himself set the example during his visit to Soma, by insulting a youngster close to the miners, calling him a « Jewish seedling » after slapping him across the face.
And so, in recent years, pseudo « affairs » have been carefully compiled against Opposition members and particularly members of parliament, leading to the « lifting of parliamentary immunity » after the aborted putsch in July.
The state of emergency and the disappearance of the Rule of Law thus officialized allows for « judgments » and sentences designed to decapitate all opposition to Erdoğan’s civilian coup d’état. This is a deliberate policy the HDP rightfully describes as a « political genocide ». The same eradication policy is being conducted in other areas, for example that of man/woman equality and the democratic exercising of shared powers… Destitution, then imprisonment of women Co-Mayors, following old or new « files » also aimed at destroying a common and innovative political practice and feminist conquests of recent years, for instance. We will return to this topic.
Ferhat Encü cannot be delivered to injustice amid general indifference. He is also a hostage of the regime, an expiatory victim designed to avoid the authorities’ ever having to account for their crimes.
Added on January 20 2017:
Conditional liberty for Ferhat Encü on the Roboski trial. But he will stay behind bars for another trial… UBU…
Added on February 15 2017:
Ferhat Encü is freed on parole.
En français : Ferhat Encü, victime expiatoire de l’injustice. Cliquez pour lire