Français | English

Close to a year has gone by since Kedis­tan joined the sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paign “Free Nûdem Durak”. It was only log­i­cal for us to take part in this re-launch­ing of a sol­i­dar­i­ty move­ment for Turkey’s polit­i­cal prisoners.

The name Nûdem Durak first appeared before our eyes as we began the trans­la­tion of a clan­des­tine news­pa­per, con­ceived and real­ized among co-detainees inside the prison of Mardin in 2016. Our friend Zehra Doğan was detained there at the time and took the lead in real­iz­ing this “Özgür Gün­dem — Gaol” edi­tion. Nûdem Durak pro­vid­ed a few arti­cles to it.

You can imag­ine our emo­tion when this man­u­script, done on wrap­ping paper, came into our hands. The two orig­i­nal edi­tions are now on pub­lic view when­ev­er Zehra holds an exhi­bi­tion. This will again be the case in Berlin, start­ing on Feb­ru­ary 26 at the Maxime Gor­ki Theater.

Our first meet­ing with Nûdem Durak dates back to the time when we set to work with oth­ers in trans­lat­ing in French these pages, tes­ti­mo­ni­als to the resis­tance of women impris­oned in Turkey.

But did we real­ly need to jus­ti­fy this com­mit­ment anew?

As Joseph Andras and Kaoutar Harchi wrote so well in a recent arti­cle in Regards “(…) Nûdem Durak is just one cap­tive among so many oth­ers. We should then speak of every one of them, spell out their names, one after the oth­er, relate the slight­est tale, describe all the fam­i­lies; we should not con­demn a sin­gle con­demned one to the dark­ness already embrac­ing him or her. Except it so hap­pened that one per­son, sud­den­ly in the spot­light, allows us to grasp the total­i­ty. Large num­bers slide off us: lists reveal dic­ta­tor­ship but they fail to reach the heart. And to arouse bod­ies accord­ing­ly. So let us say Nûdem Durak in order to say in the same breath the names of all the detainees: writer Ahmet Altan, jour­nal­ist Ned­im Tür­fent, for­mer elect­ed one Ley­la Güven, HDP activi­tists, homo­sex­u­al stu­dents or polit­i­cal lead­ers Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş and Abdul­lah Öcalan(…)”.

Fol­low­ing on the sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paigns sur­round­ing the name of writer Aslı Erdoğan, that of artist and jour­nal­ist Zehra Doğan, that of a third woman, singer and musi­cian Nûdem Durak, was a must.

Sen­tenced to 19 years in prison, she has been incar­cer­at­ed for 6 years already. Of course, dur­ing the first 5 years, artists and musi­cians here and there start­ed sup­port­ing her by singing in her name, ded­i­cat­ing their con­certs to her. A few tele­vi­sion sta­tions did a “top­ic” on her.

In 2020, after a few arti­cles spoke about Nûdem in the French press, a small col­lec­tive of per­son­al­i­ties took up the relay around writer Car­men Castil­lo who accept­ed to be its god­moth­er. Through word of mouth, both local­ly and inter­na­tion­al­ly, famous names and unknown ones of authors, artists, movie direc­tors, sent var­i­ous mes­sages of support.

You will find these names and mes­sages on the two instru­ments pro­vid­ing accounts to “Free Nûdem Durak”, on Face­book, Twit­ter, Insta­gram, and YouTube… (Please join their lists of sub­scribers, if you are one of those who use these platforms).

This is how a halo of sup­port built up around Nûdem over the years.

As such, this is already a guar­an­tee pro­vid­ing her with a bit of pro­tec­tion. All the detainees tes­ti­fy to the impor­tance of this halo, and of the cor­re­spon­dence it pro­duces, both for the per­son and for her co-detainees. Asso­ci­a­tions such as Amnesty and oth­ers have made this their prac­tice. Dur­ing Zehra Doğan’s impris­on­ment, we served as an impulse to the send­ing of let­ters and of cards, which is ongo­ing, beyond her lib­er­a­tion, with her ex-code­tainees.

This may seem laugh­able against a total­i­tar­i­an State. But it is a weapon which allows to informe, to link, to pro­vide com­fort to the detainees and to their fam­i­lies and loved ones. The same holds true for those “names” that serve as pro­tec­tive umbrellas.

Because rail­ing against Erdoğan’s repres­sion or claim­ing to be more Kur­dish than a Kurd once a month, be it for Nûdem or the oth­ers, is not enough, there is the need to keep up these links, to keep the flame of sol­i­dar­i­ty alive. A huge thank you to those who have done so for the past year.

So this is what the hand­ful of vol­un­teers of “Free Nûdem Durak” have done dur­ing this year where the pan­dem­ic con­sid­er­ably reduced oppor­tu­ni­ties for meet­ings, con­certs, and mov­ing around.

Added to these dif­fi­cul­ties the tan­gi­ble hard­en­ing, if such a thing were still pos­si­ble, of the regime in Turkey and its ongo­ing pol­i­cy of crim­i­nal­iz­ing the Kurds. Obtain­ing a lib­er­a­tion unde these con­di­tions would be an exploit, espe­cial­ly since many of the legal “appeals” and oth­er means will soon be exhaust­ed faced with a jus­tice respond­ing to regime orders. Even when faced with “bind­ing” deci­sions from the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice, the Turk­ish regime lends a deaf ear or finds sub­terfuges. This is the case for two emblem­at­ic “hostages”: Osman Kavala et Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş. And attacks are under­way by the regime against the Kur­dish move­ment and its polit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the oppo­si­tion, tend­ing toward their total prohibition.

So Nûdem, decked out with the des­ig­na­tion of “ter­ror­ist” because she sang in Kur­dish, is but one among tens of thou­sands of oth­er files.

And it is pre­cise­ly so as not to for­get this file, while point­ing out and denounc­ing the impor­tance of this pile, that the sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paign must go on and grow. In order to sup­port Nûdem, but also to describe this total­i­tar­i­an sit­u­a­tion, and sup­port all the others.

We are call­ing on those of our read­ers who are also authors, jour­nal­ists, artists, poets so they will add their con­tri­bu­tion, in their own way, accord­ing to the place from which they speak, sing, write, cre­ate… All ideas are wel­come. Send them to the small exist­ing team via the Twit­ter or Face­book accounts “Free Nûdem Durak” or, if you are aller­gic to social media, to us, Kedis­tan mag­a­zine, asso­ci­at­ed with this sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paign. We will trans­mit them and reaf­firm by the same token the ini­tial com­mit­ment of a year ago, from the entire Kedis­tan team.

And if, through this out­let, we made it pos­si­ble to con­vey the under­stand­ing that this is not only about giv­ing back a free voice to Nûdem, but also rais­ing aware­ness over the fact that the repres­sive and bel­li­cose pol­i­cy of the regime in Turkey has, and will con­tin­ue to have, de fac­to reper­cus­sions in Europe, be it through geopo­lit­i­cal desta­bi­liza­tions or direct­ly through the inter­fer­ence of its affil­i­at­ed groups, this would also be a step forward.

For what we are talk­ing about is of a cer­tain fas­cism. The exist­ing one and that which could fol­low, the one cul­ti­vat­ing the oth­er. And if the cures to this polit­i­cal pan­dem­ic are hard to put in place, human­ism would at least pro­vide a good start­ing point.

Nûdem Durak Liberté

Inter­na­tion­al cam­paign “Free Nûdem Durak” 
Face­book Twit­ter Insta­gram YouTube

Head­line pho­to: Mahn Kloix, pho­to July 2020

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
You may use and share Kedistan’s articles and translations, specifying the source and adding a link in order to respect the writer(s) and translator(s) work. Thank you.
KEDISTAN on EmailKEDISTAN on FacebookKEDISTAN on TwitterKEDISTAN on Youtube
Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.