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At his request, we con­tact­ed Mezher Kar­tal whose admin­is­tra­tive reten­tion in the Mes­nil-Amelot (Paris) cen­ter is ongoing.

More than ever, the threat  weighs on him of an evic­tion toward the Turkey he fled. This threat and this absurd deten­tion while his com­pan­ion is free to move about and is sched­uled to meet OFPRA soon1, makes no sense even in view of the right to asy­lum which states fam­i­lies can­not be separated.

Their case has already been cov­ered in a num­ber of news­pa­per arti­cles, seized upon by asso­ci­a­tions such as MRAP 2 and the cre­ation of a sup­port­ing col­lec­tive act­ing with his lawyers. In the French con­text over secu­ri­ty mat­ters, and giv­en all the polit­i­cal ten­sions around the right to asy­lum, it becomes par­tic­u­lar­ly com­pli­cat­ed to resolve even sim­ple cas­es, since the per­se­cu­tions in the coun­try of ori­gin, Turkey, can cer­tain­ly not  be denied here.

In Turkey, Mezher Kar­tal was an active mil­i­tant for the Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP) in the city of Diyarbakır. He arrived in France with his com­pan­ion Ruken on July 17 2021, request­ing asy­lum in France. His request was reject­ed by OFPRA on Sep­tem­ber 16 with a judg­ment call­ing for an “oblig­a­tion to leave the French ter­ri­to­ry” (OQTF).

Dur­ing our phone con­ver­sa­tion, Mezher Kar­tal had the fol­low­ing to say:

Lors de notre con­ver­sa­tion télé­phonique, Mezher Kar­tal s’ex­prime ainsi :

They told us we would be lib­er­at­ed. But then they called me into the office and told me they were keep­ing me. My com­pan­ion was liberated.

Since then, I am held in the admin­is­tra­tive reten­tion Cen­ter of Mes­nil-Amelot. Every four morn­ings, I’m sub­ject­ed to a PCR test. I know this is done in order to send me back, so I refuse. With each refusal, they add an addi­tion­al 28 days to my reten­tion. And this has been going on for almost five months.

I do not under­stand why my request for asy­lum was reject­ed. This neg­a­tive deci­sion was not moti­vat­ed. I real­ly don’t under­stand… Yet, my file clear­ly lays out my sit­u­a­tion, with all required doc­u­ments and evi­dence, even includ­ing news­pa­per articles.

Like many oth­er regime oppo­nents, I found myself before Turk­ish tri­bunals. I was first accused of “insult­ing Pres­i­dent Erdoğan” for shar­ing some­thing on social net­works, but not only…For exam­ple, more recent­ly, a new file labelled as “secret” was opened against me in Adana, with graver accu­sa­tions based on the dec­la­ra­tions of a “secret” wit­ness. In fact, fol­low­ing this, the police both­ered my fam­i­ly over the phone and also came knock­ing at their door.

My family’s sto­ry is filled with per­se­cu­tion. My broth­ers are cur­rent­ly in prison. My old­er sis­ter Zelal was a com­bat­ant and fell a mar­tyr. My younger sis­ter was also tak­en into cus­tody. My broth­er par­tic­i­pat­ed in the hunger strikes ini­ti­at­ed by Ley­la Güven in 2019. Even my moth­er was arrest­ed with no real motive, as she was enter­ing the  HDP offices. In fact, the police pester her because she does not keep qui­et over the fate of the Kurds, and so they haul her in. They held  her for 36 hours, then released her with a pro­hi­bi­tion against leav­ing the ter­ri­to­ry. My moth­er is a “Moth­er for Peace”. You know, the “Moth­ers for Peace” con­sti­tute a move­ment for women’s civ­il rights…Since 1999, these moth­ers have attempt­ed to bring peace to Turkey through non vio­lent means.

As for me, I was forced to leave Turkey with my com­pan­ion who also has a heavy his­to­ry. We came, request­ing asy­lum in France to escape from per­se­cu­tion and prison. But I find myself impris­oned over here…”

Indeed, main­tain­ing in a reten­tion cen­ter for migrants some­one whose request was reject­ed in the first place for rea­sons beyond our under­stand­ing and whose per­son­al and fam­i­ly file illus­trate what Kurds oppos­ing the regime in Turkey are sub­ject­ed to, is an aber­ra­tion when one knows that, at the same time, per­sons want­ed for war crimes (Rwan­da for exam­ple) are cir­cu­lat­ing freely in France. This puni­tive con­cept of the right of asy­lum is an inter­pre­ta­tion that match­es up more with speech­es cur­rent­ly blos­som­ing that with the real­i­ty of Euro­pean treaties. Asso­ci­a­tions sup­port­ing Mezher Kar­tal will turn to Euro­pean juris­dic­tions in this regard.

Mezher con­tin­ues:

Fol­low­ing the rejec­tion by OFPRA, my lawyer launched appeal pro­ceed­ings that are cur­rent­ly active. But such recours­es are not sus­pen­sive so that I am still threat­ened with evic­tion. Reser­va­tions are made reg­u­lar­ly on planes in order to evict me, and I’m asked to take a PCR test. I refuse, so 28 days of reten­tion are then added to my calvary.

My com­pan­ion is out­side, alone, in a coun­try the lan­guage of which she does not know. I do not under­stand why I am not with her. She needs me because she was impris­oned and sub­ject­ed to very seri­ous mat­ters. She still bears the psy­cho­log­i­cal trau­ma from these events and is extreme­ly vul­ner­a­ble. Are they allowed to sep­a­rate a family?

I know there have been demon­stra­tions, arti­cles in the news­pa­pers, appeals to attract atten­tion to my case. Civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions, col­lec­tives, polit­i­cal par­ties have signed these appeals. But noth­ing budges. I am still here, under threat of eviction.

I’m now await­ing Decem­ber 28, the day when I will appear once again before a Com­mis­sion. My wife also has a inter­view with OFPRA on the same day.

We can­not return to Turkey. The minute we set foot on Turk­ish soil, we will be imprisoned.”

Obvi­ous­ly, this cal­en­dar date of Decem­ber 28 would make a poten­tial­ly dou­ble evic­tion go by unno­ticed in the midst of end of year cel­e­bra­tions when almost every­one has their nose in a Christ­mas tree or in the var­i­ous episodes sur­round­ing the French pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. And even if both of them should win their appeal lat­er, it would then be too late to pull them out of the Turk­ish gaols in which they would already find themselves.

It is thus more than urgent that the OQTF be abro­gat­ed, espe­cial­ly since it is not valid for­ev­er, and it can­not be renewed admin­is­tra­tive­ly with­out motive. For this, we must con­tin­ue to call out the author­i­ties with­out fail.

As sug­gest­ed in the release by Col­lec­tif Sol­i­dar­ité Kur­dis­tan 13  you can do so…

  • Apply pres­sure and demand Mezher’s lib­er­a­tion by call­ing the CRA or the pre­fec­ture at
  • Write to Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron.
Pour tout contact :

(pdf in French, here)

Collectif Solidarité Kurdistan .13


Urgent appeal for Mezher Kartal,  HDP militant, threatened with eviction to Turkey

While not a day goes by with­out the Gov­ern­ment of Turkey fur­ther reveal­ing aspects of its implaca­ble dic­ta­tor­ship, French author­i­ties are about to evict Mezher Kar­tal toward this coun­try where every mech­a­nism is deployed in order to anni­hi­late the Kur­dish peo­ple, but also to crush every dis­si­dent voice not con­form­ing to the doc­trine of its Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

An impor­tant mem­ber of the city of Diyarbakır’s sec­tion of the Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP), Mr. Kar­tal held reg­u­lar activ­i­ties and par­tic­i­pat­ed active­ly in  organ­is­ing dif­fer­ent elec­toral cam­paigns for the HDP. Tar­get­ed by an inquest for insult­ing the Pres­i­dent, he is at risk of encoun­ter­ing heavy prison sen­tences and a vio­lent treat­ment reserved to polit­i­cal prisoners.

Threat­ened and per­se­cut­ed in Turkey as are their entire fam­i­ly for their polit­i­cal com­mit­ment but also for being Kurds, his two broth­ers are impris­oned, one of them sen­tenced to 22 years in prison. As a mem­ber of “The Moth­ers for Peace”, his moth­er has been arrest­ed on a num­ber of occa­sions while his wife was incar­cer­at­ed for sev­er­al months.

Know­ing that his life was in dan­ger, he was forced to flee his coun­try and turn to exile in Europe with his com­pan­ion. Arriv­ing in France last July 17, his request for asy­lum was reject­ed by OFPTRA on Sep­tem­ber 16 2021 along with an OQTF (Oblig­a­tion to leave France). His lawyer appealed the deci­sion before the CNDA but this appeal is not sus­pen­sive of the OQTF. Mr. Kar­tal is at risk of being evict­ed toward Turkey at any moment, with­out even hav­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty of being heard before the Nation­al Court of the right of Asy­lum (CNDA).

French author­i­ties are not igno­rant of the fact that Turk­ish tri­bunals are more in the nature of a mas­quer­ade than in appli­ca­tion of   con­sti­tu­tion­al law, as part of a gen­er­alised drift of its judi­cia­ry insti­tu­tions. Thus, thou­sands of polit­i­cal pris­on­ers rot in Turk­ish gaols under the fal­la­cious argu­ment of “belong­ing to a ter­ror­ist organization”.

Proof of this is in the fact the Coun­cil of Europe has just launched against Turkey a pro­ce­dure of infrac­tion for fail­ing to respect fun­da­men­tal rights and refus­ing to lib­er­ate Mr. Osman Kavala. The com­mit­tee has also demand­ed the imme­di­ate release of Sela­hat­tin Demirtaş.

While the sus­pen­sion of the HDP Par­ty is immi­nent, raids occur on a dai­ly basis, with mas­sive arrests, intim­i­da­tions, vio­lence against deputies, may­ors, jour­nal­ists, activists…: must we con­sid­er that France has decid­ed to be an accom­plice to this rogue State   by turn­ing over to Erdoğan’s gov­ern­ment Kur­dish mil­i­tants fight­ing for democ­ra­cy and freedom?

The instru­men­tal­iza­tion of the Kur­dish peo­ple must cease, the defence of human rights can­not be a toy of vari­able geom­e­try depend­ing on polit­i­cal agree­ments and eco­nom­ic stakes.

The French gov­ern­ment and its Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron bear a heavy respon­si­bil­i­ty in evict­ing toward Turkey Mr. Mezher Kar­tal, when there can be not exist even a shad­ow of a doubt he will be arrest­ed, tor­tured and sub­ject­ed to the blade of a judi­cia­ry exe­cu­tion. Espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing this evic­tion toward Turkey would con­sti­tute a vio­la­tion of the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion of Human Rights.

We earnest­ly appeal to French author­i­ties to abro­gate with­out fur­ther delay the order of evic­tion and the OQTF against Mr. Kar­tal and to grant him and his wife  the right of asylum.

We call on polit­i­cal par­ties, elect­ed mem­bers, orga­ni­za­tions defend­ing human rights and all and every per­son indig­nant over this sit­u­a­tion to mobilise and call on French author­i­ties to rescind this evic­tion which would be unwor­thy of France and of the val­ues it claims to defend.

Mar­seille Decem­ber 3 2021


CSK.13 membership list: Centre Démocratique Kurde Marseille (CDKM) — Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (LDH) Marseille — Marche Mondiale des Femmes (MMF) 13 Paca — Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples (MRAP) 13 — Mouvement de la Paix 13 — Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA) 13 — Parti Communiste Français (PCF) 13 — Parti de Gauche 13 — Solidarité & Liberté Provence — Union Départementale CGT

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.