We recent­ly pub­lished an inter­view with Ercan Jan Aktaş, con­cern­ing con­sci­en­tious objec­tion in Turkey, and the aggra­va­tion of con­di­tions for con­sci­en­tious objec­tors under the state of emergency.

In his answers, Ercan Jan Aktaş also talked about his exile. He rounds out this inter­view with a let­ter for his com­rades in the struggle.

We take advan­tage of this to fur­ther a reflec­tion begun at Kedis­tan pre­cise­ly on the top­ic of the forced exile of a num­ber of peo­ple who, in some cas­es, were sim­ply “involved” in civil­ian and human­i­tar­i­an actions, who found them­selves endan­gered when faced with the pol­i­cy of blind repres­sion applied by the AKP regime. Oth­ers were polit­i­cal mil­i­tants or activists in banned asso­ci­a­tions cov­er­ing a num­ber of areas.

This exile often occurred in haste or in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions before avenues were closed off by decree in Turkey against entire pro­fes­sions, or fol­low­ing a fir­ing, or because of the Turkey/Europe agree­ment on “migrants and refugees”.

As was the case in the 1980s then in the 1990s, this is how a “new lay­er” has come to be in the Turk­ish and Kur­dish dias­po­ra, one imbued with all the polit­i­cal and social evo­lu­tions, the “lat­est” con­cerns on the very nature of the Turk­ish nation-state forc­ing them to flee, or because of the emer­gence of “Kur­dish solu­tions”. This addi­tion to the polit­i­cal reflec­tion must not be drowned in an ocean of indif­fer­ence or in the guilt of being here while oth­ers are over there, be it in a prison of stone or one under open skies.

Every exiled per­son is faced with the ques­tion of his or her “use­ful­ness” else­where, after hav­ing to leave the fight back home.

When he/she real­izes that over here, these “caus­es” are ignored, deformed, vil­i­fied, when they don’t some­times serve as an “excuse” for local par­ties in search of a bit of inter­na­tion­al­ism, he/she has the option of « inte­gra­tion » in the com­mu­ni­ty’s dai­ly life, or to con­tin­ue shar­ing his or her knowl­edge over here… and to helps in set­ting mat­ters straight.

But that sup­pos­es that he or she is wel­comed and greeted.

My dear extend­ed fam­i­ly, CNT-FAI,
My comrades,

I have been liv­ing in France for close to a year now. You opened your hearts to me, you opened your homes, you did every­thing for me by tak­ing me by the hand, the way one brings a child to school.

With the help of your warm wel­come, I have tried to sur­mount the dif­fi­cul­ties I encoun­tered. Ever since arriv­ing here, I have received noth­ing but bad news from my coun­try. Repres­sive and anti­de­mo­c­ra­t­ic prac­tices by the Turk­ish State have gone crescen­do. Thanks to the pow­er I found with you, I have tried to fight against these bad developments.

From time to time, I missed the streets of my coun­try, my com­rades and my fam­i­ly ter­ri­bly. I tried to over­come all that with your sup­port and your sol­i­dar­i­ty. Now, I have an adopt­ed town by the name of Pau and an extend­ed fam­i­ly. Wher­ev­er I go, no mat­ter what I do, my heart will be with you.

I am well aware of my luck. You have made me stronger through your friend­ship, your sup­port, your cama­raderie. I will go on liv­ing the strug­gle that makes us stronger and freer.

Soon, my sec­ond address in France will be in Paris. At age 45, I will begin stud­ies in a third uni­ver­si­ty. I will study Polit­i­cal Sci­ence at Uni­ver­sité de Paris 8. More­over, I’m try­ing to orga­nize sol­i­dar­i­ty con­certs to ben­e­fit chil­dren liv­ing in towns in Kur­dis­tan destroyed by the Turk­ish State’s war policies.

I will also get involved in con­sci­en­tious objec­tors’ asso­ci­a­tions, with the LGBTI groups and the anti­mil­i­tarists who were forced to leave their coun­try and come to a Euro­pean coun­try, because of the war poli­cies in Turkey and in Kur­dis­tan. I wish to join forces with these asso­ci­a­tions, struc­tures, groups and pro­gres­sive Left­ist peo­ple in France.

And I will go on trans­mit­ting information.

Once again, I want to thank you for your sup­port, your efforts and your coop­er­a­tion. We will move for­ward in life, one way or anoth­er, by strug­gling and resist­ing together.

My dream is to greet you some day in Istan­bul and in Amed and to walk the streets of those two beau­ti­ful towns agains, with you.

Thanks again to Babet, Ger­ard, Eliza, Jipé, Jano, Marko, Deboğa, Loren­zo and most of all, to the unions.

In friend­ship and solidarity.

Ercan Jan Aktaş

Illus­tra­tion : Ercan mak­ing crêpes… (per­son­al archive)

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges

French : “Ercan Jan Aktaş • La lutte qui rend plus fort et libre” Cliquez pour lire

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Ercan Jan Aktaş
Objecteur de con­science, auteur et jour­nal­iste exilé en France. Vic­dan retçisi, yazar, gazete­ci. Şu anda Fransa’da sürgünde bulunuy­or. Con­sci­en­tious objec­tor, author and jour­nal­ist exiled in France.