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We read in the media that Başak Demir­taş has just been sen­tenced to two and a half years of prison because of a typo on a med­ical report con­cern­ing a miscarriage !

Başak is a teacher and the com­pan­ion of Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş, the deputy main­tained in prison since Novem­ber 2016, despite the deci­sion of the Euro­pean Tri­bunal of Human Rights call­ing for his imme­di­ate release. Indeed, the tri­bunal con­sid­ered that Demir­taş’ deten­tion went against “the very heart of the con­cept of a demo­c­ra­t­ic society”.

Ex-Pres­i­dent of the Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP), Sela­hat­tin was impris­oned after his par­ty won a suf­fi­cient num­ber of seats dur­ing the 2015 gen­er­al elec­tion to destroy Erdoğan’s par­lia­men­tary major­i­ty. He is sad­dled with some one hun­dred accu­sa­tions the pros­e­cu­tors attempt to relate to “ter­ror­ism”. This rep­re­sents a total­i­ty of hun­dreds of years in prison. Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş, with his usu­al caus­tic sense of humor com­ments: “No prob­lem, if I can live that long, I’ll serve the full sentence.”

Yet again, and for the umpteenth time, let us say that the HDP is sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly reduced in inter­na­tion­al media to a “pro-Kur­dish” par­ty, an unac­cept­able term, since in fact,  it serves as a com­mon tent for the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of minor­i­ty peo­ples, but also for fem­i­nists, ecol­o­gists, LGBTIQ+… mak­ing it the tar­get of the Turk­ish regime. Its deputies are revoked, los­ing their par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty, co-May­ors elect­ed by the peo­ple are removed from office and replaced by admin­is­tra­tors named from above, its mem­bers, its sym­pa­this­ers, even the staff at the snack bar, fill Turk­ish pris­ons. And, for months now, social net­works of all polit­i­cal hues, unit­ed by nation­al­ism, send out appeals for the clos­ing down and pro­hi­bi­tion of the HDP. The top­ic of the “after-clos­ing of the HDP” is debat­ed on tele­vi­sion, by one and anoth­er pseu­do-spe­cial­ist, politi­cians of every ten­den­cy, except, of course, the main con­cerned who are con­stant­ly kept in the dark…

All of this adds un to a pic­ture of hor­ri­ble, Kafkaesque polit­i­cal persecution.

The attack against Kur­dish oppo­nents is thus ongo­ing. Always with the same catch-all accu­sa­tion of “they’re all ter­ror­ists!” And when there is no evi­dence, there is always the pos­si­bil­i­ty of examining…work stop­pages because of illness!

On last Thurs­day, the Diyarbakır­tri­bunal sen­tenced Başak Demir­taş, and her doc­tor, to a 30 month prison sen­tence “for sub­mit­ting a fraud­u­lent med­ical report”.

Başak recent­ly declared that nei­ther she nor her two chil­dren have been autho­rized to vis­it Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş since the begin­ning of the pan­dem­ic… I s it now their turn?

The accu­sa­tions in this ubuesque tri­al began in March 2018, and are based on hos­pi­tal admis­sions, and two surg­eries for a mis­car­riage Başak Demir­taş suf­fered in 2015. Accord­ing to her lawyers, the teacher is accused of “fraud” because one of the med­ical notes pro­vid­ing for a five-day work stop­page was deliv­ered at an appoint­ment on Decem­ber 11 2015 but erro­neous­ly dat­ed …14th of Decem­ber, four days lat­er. Başak had then tak­en leave with­out pay in the sec­ond half of the 2015–2016 school year in order to ful­ly recover.

On Twit­ter, the dec­la­ra­tion of the rap­por­teur for Turkey at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, Nacho Sanchez Amor, con­cern­ing the sen­tenc­ing of Başak Demir­taş: “2.5 years of prison for a mere cler­i­cal error con­cern­ing a med­ical record is appalling and seems beyond com­mon sense. It just looks so polit­i­cal. It gives the mea­sure of the wor­ry­ing state of Turk­ish judiciary.”

And yet, the state of Turkey’s judi­cia­ry is an open secret.

But when one notes that, despite par­tic­i­pat­ing in the trans­fer of migrants toward the Belaru­sian bor­ders, the AKP regime’s air­line should escape all sanc­tions, when one sees that the non-respect of deci­sions of the Euro­pean Tri­bunal con­cern­ing Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş and Osman Kavala does not even raise an eye­brow, and that the road to pos­si­ble dis­cus­sions on Turkey join­ing the EU remain open, that every time the Turk­ish regime speaks of migrants, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion jumps, what is sur­pris­ing about a sim­ple “dec­la­ra­tion”?

After the tri­al, Basak’s lawyers declared that, although the tri­bunal had decid­ed that the hos­pi­tal records indi­cat­ing the dates of her pres­ence should be deposit­ed as evi­dence, in order to show that an error was com­mit­ted, the tri­bunal pro­nounced the sen­tence with­out exam­in­ing the records. “Despite this sit­u­a­tion, we will keep up the judi­cial strug­gle. We still believe the sen­tence will be annulled [by the Court of Appeal] and that jus­tice will pre­vail”, they said…

Fol­low­ing such a judi­cial infamy, one can expect close rel­a­tives to be tar­get­ed next, one way or anoth­er. And, most­ly, what is wor­ri­some is the absence of strong reac­tions from those who claim to be lead­ers of the oppo­si­tion. In the elec­toral process­es soon to get under­way, the CHP for exam­ple has not deter­mined its posi­tion con­cern­ing the Kurds and keeps on flirt­ing with the nation­al­ists, hop­ing for a cri­sis and the wear­ing effect of pow­er  on the AKP+ultra-nationalist tandem.

In Turkey as else­where, it’s right-wing all the way.

Başak Demir­taş is yet anoth­er vic­tim of this dis­cre­tionary pow­er  main­tain­ing itself thanks to an ide­ol­o­gy that is anti-Kur­dish, anti-Migrant, anti-Armen­ian and oth­er minori­ties , sum­ma­rized in the notion of Turci­ty. These vic­tims, politi­cians, jour­nal­ists, authors, plain oppo­nents with a slight­ly rad­i­cal bent, are in the thou­sands, dragged through par­o­dies of jus­tice, then incar­cer­at­ed. They are so numer­ous that giv­ing pre­cise and full num­bers is almost impos­si­ble, although civ­il soci­ety asso­ci­a­tions still try their best to do so.

As an exam­ple, the tri­al against Aslı Erdoğan, com­plet­ed in prin­ci­ple, has been reopened on oth­er grounds, just as friv­o­lous as that of  a “wrong date” on a leave of absence lead­ing to prison, while the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of cor­rup­tion, just as the authors of fem­i­ni­cides, are spared, for good behav­ior or the wear­ing of a tie.

Order, secu­ri­ty, nation, repub­lic, hatred of migrants and of “the oth­er”, ter­ror­ism … Those are words that jus­ti­fy lin­ger­ing over a mis­tak­en date and sen­tenc­ing to prison the com­pan­ion of an oppo­nent already incar­cer­at­ed. Strange, these same words escaped from Turkey buzz like flies out of a garbage can in the fetid air of a cer­tain French elec­toral campaign.

Translation from French by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.