Zehra Doğan was forced back into jail last June. She has been incarcerated in Diyarbakır (Amed) since.
We will never say it enough: In the past two years, and especially since what has been a genuine civilian coup d’état in 2016 and the permanent state of emergency that has followed in Turkey, Zehra, like thousands of other men and women, has been charged with the grotesque accusation of « terrorism and terrorist propaganda ».
Journalism is not a crime, nor are writing, painting, drawing, encouraging art, culture and reflection. In Turkey, teaching humanism, transmitting knowledge have become so many acts of insubordination. Being young and proud of one’s birth, of one’s culture, defending its existence and a viable future are also forbidden to generations of men and women discriminated against because they are Kurdish, and assimilated with terrorism and the « destruction of the Turkish Nation ». Being a humanist and defending human rights also leads to jail.
Not only does Zehra Doğan accumulate all these possible « fatwas » but she also proclaims her struggle as a woman. She was one of the founders of the JINHA press agency, entirely staffed by women (a first), an agency now closed by governmental decree
In 2016, we had launched an appeal for Aslı Erdoğan, an appeal that was relayed, amplified, interpreted in various forms, and became a true mobilization, a chain of solidarity that bloomed on 3 continents.
Aslı is a writer. She is still dealing with an endless trial. She had written on a number of issues that shed light on Turkish reality. Her peers, editors and publishers, librarians mainly and an immense majority of readers held « readings », « solidarity evenings », gatherings of live art, demanding her release, even a provisional one…
Even knowing this wasn’t enough and even if Aslı’s notoriety played a large part in the press and media relays, literary and other, Asli is now free on parole and prizes await her a bit all over Europe.
All this to say that, for a time, Aslı symbolized all of Turkey’s political hostages, and that putting forward one name, one person, does not mean restricting essential solidarity or depriving oneself from describing beyond it to a situation of catastrophic dimensions.
And because Zehra Doğan is an even a stronger figure of resistance, and proves it every day, Kedistan has set itself the task of having her see the starry night again as soon as possible. For this, we need all of you, our readers. For the kedi will never manage it alone.
You should know that Zehra Doğan was incarcerated again in June 2017 because an add-on was added to the charges against her to reinforce the sentence. She had held an exhibition in Diyarbakır titled “141”, referring to the number of days she had spent in the Mardin jail while awaiting judgment. She was not « well-behaved » there, and contributed drawings to a hand-scripted issue of Özgür Gündem, a newspaper closed by governmental decree.
An information campaign made her name known and her face finally appeared in the demonstrations in front of Turkish embassies in Europe. She obtained a temporary release and used the time to paint and draw in conditions of great urgency.
We can state here that all « official » doors on which we knocked in European countries were shut when we invoked the duty of « humanitarian solidarity » proclaimed by politicians…Without a favorable reception, Zehra could only become the regime’s prey once again. We give the finger here to all politicians and diplomats who will recognize themselves…
No, no one will wait for the regime’s clemency nor will stay fretting and moping with arms crossed.
Defending Zehra Doğan means supporting all the others, politicians, journalists, artists, authors, teachers, ordinary men and women thrown out of their lives, in jail or in abeyance.
And so : it’s a general mobilization !
A book will be published by Editions Fage in August, “Les yeux grands ouverts”, (Eyes wide open) with a selection of texts by Zehra, her story and the great majority of her pictorial works to have left Turkey, in anticipation of Zehra in person. We are announcing it here but will spend much more time on the topic in the coming months.
An exhibition of some fifty paintings and drawings is being finalized – those she did during the brief respite between her two incarcerations. This project is entirely according to Zehra Doğan’s decisions and choices, and Kedistan is doing nothing other than taking on responsibility for it over here. Not so it will be a confidential exhibition ; quite the contrary, we want it to serve as a medium for a European solidarity we call down with all our wishes.
And so, associations, artists, journalists, managers of artistic events or of exhibition venues…
We’re listening to all initiatives you may take on as relays. We have over one year to open up support that can be seen, heard, passed on…
Other projects are being finalized, including direct links of support allowing Zehra to hold on, to know whe is not alone beyond the sincere friends and activists already acting in concrete solidarity.
A pre-release of the solidarity campaign will be held in Douarnenez during the film festival between August 18 and 26. Some of her original works will be on display, the book will be available, and Kedistan will be there also.
And, of course, the web and social networks will be important vectors. A dedicated website as well as a facebook page and a twitter account await your subscription to stay informed on what will follow.
For Facebook users, add the page to your favorites, like it and connect to it. Share with your favorite groups, invite your contacts to join…
Every small gesture and useful click at your level will help to spread the word…
Site zehradogan.net | Facebook FreeZehra Doğan | Twitter @zehradoganjinha
This traveling exhibition will be an opportunity to inform, through conferences, discussions and contacts with local media on the situation in Turkey and to demand an end to Zehra Doğan’s wickedly unfair incarceration and that of all the other hostages…
So, local and national associations, concerned political groups, to your solidarities and proposals. You know the address…
Finally, you may write to her, knowing that only writings in Turkish will be handed over. Not to worry, we will soon be offering pre-printed postcards during the exhibitions, and the address as well as texts for re-copying are available HERE.