Türkçe Artı Gerçek | Français | English | Castellano

As far as Nûdem is con­cerned, it is per­fect­ly clear the gov­ern­ment does not have the slight­est bit of evi­dence that she is a vio­lent crim­i­nal. There is no evi­dence in sup­port of this. She did noth­ing oth­er than teach chil­dren how to play the gui­tar and com­posed and sang songs about her coun­try. She is a Kurd.

In an inter­view to the mag­a­zine Rolling Stone, this is what Roger Waters, gui­tarist and soloist of the leg­endary musi­cal group Pink Floyd, said con­cern­ing the young musi­cian from Cizre, Nûdem Durak to whom he recent­ly sent his guitar.

A jour­nal­ist friend who had done a reportage with Nûdem just before her incar­cer­a­tion told us “she’s a young­ster with no oth­er con­cern than to sing and to play the gui­tar, and giv­en the cli­mate in Cizre, some­one I would describe as apolitical.”

There is sim­ply no point in men­tion­ing the fact that not a sin­gle voice has been raised among artists in Turkey con­cern­ing the sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paign for Nûdem, one in which Roger Waters has been involved for quite a while and in which he has also asso­ci­at­ed world-famous musi­cians. After all, “she is  a Kurd” and the shad­ow of “dan­geros­i­ty”, of “sus­pi­cion” the State has cre­at­ed around Kurds does not even dis­ap­pear with their death.

So what is Nûdem’s crime?

In the Cizre dis­trict of the town of Şır­nak, with a small group of friends, Nûdem Durak pro­duced music at the cul­tur­al cen­ter Mem û Zin, and sang songs with her crys­tal-clear voice. As is the case for many Kurds, she is reg­is­tered on pub­lic records as born on the 1st of Jan­u­ary in 1988. When she was tak­en into cus­tody on March 14 2010, and then incar­cer­at­ed, she was all of 22 years old.

What is she accused of?

As Waters says, if truth be told, “she is a Kurd” and accord­ing to what can be dis­cov­ered in her file, apart from this essen­tial crime, there is not the light­est piece of evi­dence jus­ti­fy­ing keep­ing her in prison for years.

In fact, judg­ing by the 2013 deci­sion of Diyarbakır’s Penal Tri­bunal N°4, fol­low­ing a per­fect­ly scan­dalous judi­cia­ry pro­ce­dure, she was pun­ished with 10 and half years of prison, at a young age, as if this was meant to ensure she would nev­er  get over it! Bear in mind these dates of Nûdem’s arrest and of the tribunal’s deci­sion, because we will get back to them

In real­i­ty, Nûdem, or to use her offi­cial name of Rah­mete Durak, was lib­er­at­ed 7 months lat­er under pro­vi­sion­al release, fol­low­ing her first arrest, and the thought of flee­ing did not even cross her mind, because she knew she was inno­cent and saw those “mis­er­able 7 months” as some­thing that could hap­pen to any­one in Cizre, as a night­mare that had end­ed, leav­ing her free to pur­sue her artis­tic activ­i­ties, to go on meet­ing with her friends, strum­ming her gui­tar, and dreaming.

What did she dream of?  Excerpt­ed from a reportage she gave in 2015: “I always dreamed of own­ing a gui­tar. My moth­er had a gold wed­ding band. Since I couldn’t afford to buy a gui­tar, my moth­er gave me this ring. She said: ‘Go, sell this ring and buy a gui­tar.’ To own a gui­tar… it was as if I had been offered the world.”

But that world was snatched away from her short­ly after­wards. Nûdem explains: “My lawyer called me and said ’your sen­tence has been con­firmed.’ I was stu­pe­fied, I thought it was a joke. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it was true. It wasn’t one year, two years, but 10 and a half years of prison.”

Yes, exact­ly 10,5 years of prison! What’s more, fol­low­ing the deci­sion of anoth­er ongo­ing tri­al, this sen­tence was then raised to 19 years and Nûdem has been in prison since 2015.

Yes, but what crime did Nûdem commit?

In the 113 pages of the file from Diyarbakır’s Penal Tri­bunal N°4, dat­ing from 2013 (which is to say deep in the peri­od of “res­o­lu­tion 1),Nûdem’s name, that is “Rah­mete Durak” is only men­tioned in 5 places. The only evi­dence against Durak car­ry­ing a sen­tence of 10,5 years con­cerns two mes­sages sent to a friend on Decem­ber 2009 (which is to say dur­ing the Oslo talks between the Turk­ish State and the PKK! 2), Durak  is said to have writ­ten: “If I didn’t love him, if I wasn’t in love with him, why would I suf­fer? Is it easy to face the organ­i­sa­tion and to say I am in love with him?”

The Tri­bunal inter­pret­ed this mes­sage from Nûdem as proof of “belong­ing to the organ­i­sa­tion”. Here is the excerpt from the deci­sion, as it is stated:

(…) it was deter­mined these were sen­ti­men­tal mes­sages but the words of Rah­mete DURAK “S IT EASY TO FACE THE ORGANISATION AND TO SAY I AM IN LOVE WITH HIM” describe the func­tion­ing of the organ­i­sa­tion and when one exam­ines rela­tion­ships between men and women with­in the ter­ror­ist organ­i­sa­tion PKK/KONGRA-GEL 3, it is observed that sen­ti­men­tal rela­tion­ships are for­bid­den between mem­bers of the organ­i­sa­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly between those who oper­ate as active mil­i­tants, that the organ­i­sa­tion is against them because they cause alter­ations, that those who behave in this way go against deci­sions of the organ­i­sa­tion sanc­tioned by the organ­i­sa­tion and that the cadres of the organ­i­sa­tion fear­ing the organ­i­sa­tion live this type of rela­tion­ship in hid­ing and secretly.”

When we called Rojhat Dil­siz, Pres­i­dent of the Bar in Şır­nak to ask for infor­ma­tion on the Durak tri­al and read him the moti­vat­ed deci­sion he had sent us, we couldn’t believe our eyes. “That’s all?” we asked. Dil­siz answered “Yes, that’s all” and added “but Nûdem is not the only one, most of the peo­ple were sen­tenced to prison, fol­low­ing KCK oper­a­tions 4 con­duct­ed at that time. Why are you sur­prised? We see count­less such deci­sions every day.”

Of course, Nûdem, a young woman from a mod­est Kur­dish fam­i­ly, was polit­i­cal­ly aware and she want­ed Kurds to live freely and obtain equal­i­ty, which was reflect­ed in her songs.  Quite clear­ly, her extra­or­di­nar­i­ly beau­ti­ful voice was per­ceived at least by some local State offi­cials who had heard it with their own ears, and the deci­sion was tak­en to extin­guish that light, before it shone any brighter. In oth­er words, it is prob­a­ble that behind the deci­sion of long-term impris­on­ment for Nûdem there also lurks the aim of sub­du­ing her voice  which was like­ly to shine even brighter.

Ear­li­er we men­tioned the date of Nûdem’s first arrest in 2010. This is the peri­od when Gülenists 5 quick­ly organ­ised with­in the judi­cia­ry sys­tem and, begin­ning on Sep­tem­ber 12 of the same year, were also seri­ous­ly involved in the pow­er struc­ture of the Coun­cil of Judges and Pros­e­cu­tors (HSYK). In fact, the three names sign­ing  the deci­sion of Diyarbakır’s Penal Tri­bunal N°4 , con­demn­ing Nûdem, fig­ure on the list of judges and pros­e­cu­tors lat­er dis­missed or judged in the FETÖ tri­als.  If these are not homonyms, the Pres­i­dent of the tri­bunal, Ahmet Aydın, its mem­bers İbrahim Özbek and Mustafa Akgül are among those sus­pend­ed, dis­missed or impris­oned fol­low­ing the attempt­ed coup d’Etat on July 15 2016 [Note :these lists were wide­ly cir­cu­lat­ed in the media].

Nûdem was sen­tenced to 10,5 years of prison in 2013, and her sen­tence was con­firmed in 2014. In oth­er words, this is the peri­od of the “res­o­lu­tion process” and Gülenists at that time were insist­ing that an end be put to it!

You know, fol­low­ing the July 15th attempt­ed coup d’Etat, pre­vi­ous oper­a­tions such as Ergenekon, Baly­oz, etc were renamed “set ups”, the ver­dicts ren­dered in the tri­als relat­ed to them were revised, but the tri­als of the KCK, con­duct­ed by the same teams and meth­ods were exclud­ed from the revision.

Con­se­quent­ly, the cas­es of thou­sands of peo­ple such as Nûdem, arrest­ed and con­demned in the frame­work of KCK oper­a­tions, were left to the ver­dicts pro­nounced by the Gülenists. In oth­er words, fol­low­ing the attempt­ed coup d’Etat,  the Gülenists who impris­oned these peo­ple, were impris­oned in neigh­bour­ing cells while the con­dem­na­tions of those peo­ple whose fate they had decid­ed were not even re-exam­ined. Because they were Kurds. What oth­er expla­na­tion could there be?

Get­ting back to Nûdem’s tri­al, let’s lend an ear to Dil­siz: “On 05.03.2013 in file n° 2010/6371, a ver­dict of a total of 10,5 years of empris­on­ment was pro­nounced against Nûdem, and this sen­tence was approved and finalised on 18.12.2014. Exe­cu­tion of the sen­tence then began and an arrest war­rant issued against Nûdem. At that time, we intro­duced an indi­vid­ual appeal before the con­sti­tu­tion­al Tri­bunal. This appeal was lat­er reject­ed. We took the mat­ter up to the Euro­pean Court of Human Rights but there have been no results so far.” 

Why is Nûdem punished?

Dil­siz con­tin­ues: “Nûdem worked as a vocal artist at the Mem û Zin cul­tur­al cen­ter which car­ried out cul­tur­al activ­i­ties in Cizre. This cen­ter had no polit­i­cal activ­i­ties what­so­ev­er and all its ven­tures were in the cul­tur­al and artis­tic fields. But as these activ­i­ties were car­ried out in Kur­dish, every­thing they did was con­sid­ered ille­gal. In par­al­lel to KCK oper­a­tions, oth­ers were also car­ried out on staff of insti­tu­tions active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing in artis­tic activ­i­ties, such as Nûdem. And her name was also added to the files. As with all clas­sic files per­tain­ing to the KCK, con­fi­den­tial phone record­ings were done, dec­la­ra­tions received from ‘secret wit­ness­es’» and press con­fer­ences to which they had par­tic­i­pat­ed were also includ­ed in the file as evi­dence. She was sen­tenced to 10,5 years. Although there was no con­tent in the file indi­cat­ing crim­i­nal ele­ments in the judi­cial sense, the ver­dict was tak­en hasti­ly for the polit­i­cal motives of the time, then con­firmed by the Supreme Court. »

Don’t be fooled, that to which thou­sands of Kurds such as Nûdem have been sub­ject­ed, is not an adven­ture that began with the Gülenists, so as to put an end to the “res­o­lu­tion process” and pur­sue the hunt against the Kurds, one that would now be end­ed [Note: with the end of the regime’s alliance with Gülen]… Last week, in an arti­cle tilt­ed “The ven­gance of the Vengeance of the vengeance of the vengeance” and pub­lished by the news­pa­per Evrensel, Tugay Bek, the lawyer in anoth­er case, men­tioned a recent one that sur­pass­es the ver­dict pro­nounced against Nûdem Durak.

A user of social net­works by the name of Kad­er Duman was sen­tenced to 8 months and 10 days in prison for “apol­o­gy of crime and crim­i­nals” fol­low­ing his shar­ing  of an anti-war and non-vio­lent arti­cle titled Vengeance of the vengeance of the vengeance that I had writ­ten fol­low­ing the attack by TAK 6 on Decem­ber 10 2016. Some 10 hours fol­low­ing this first shar­ing for hav­ing writ­ten “Well done!” on his account, fol­low­ing a fam­i­ly argu­ment! And the Court of appeal also con­firmed this verdict.

Yet, it appears that dur­ing the tri­al, the tri­bunal had no need to read my arti­cle shared by Duman, nor even to include it in the file, except for the title which appears in the accu­sa­tion. Because, had they done so, the arti­cle would have revealed itself as opposed to vio­lence from begin­ning to end, and it would have been impos­si­ble to con­demn Kad­er Duman. But, as for Nûdem, because he is a Kurd, Kad­er can be con­sid­ered as hav­ing sup­port­ed the attack and be con­demned for writ­ing “Well done!”, a com­ment total­ly unre­lat­ed to the attack com­mit­ted two days earlier.

When I read the arti­cle by lawyer Tugay Bek in Evrensel, hon­est­ly, I couldn’t believe my own eyes. Telling myself there had to be some­thing else to it, I request­ed the file from Tugay Bek. In it, there is noth­ing, but noth­ing, to jus­ti­fy the condemnation!

It is so obvi­ous that no motive is looked for in order to sen­tence some­one to prison, beside the fact he or she is Kur­dish. Every lawyer we have ques­tioned has been very sur­prised by our sur­prise and repeat­ed the words of Rojhat Dil­siz: “We encounter dozens of sim­i­lar ver­dicts every day!” 

In short, not a sin­gle voice is raised in Turkey to par­tic­i­pate in this cam­paign led by Roger Waters, a man who has nev­er met Nûdem in his whole life, but sim­ply heard her. And Kad­er Duman’s Kur­dic­i­ty became his des­tiny (Note: in Turk­ish, Kad­er means Des­tiny).

What is fright­en­ing is that no one in this coun­try, except for the Kurds, rais­es the slight­est objec­tion to this destiny.

İrf­an Aktan

İrfan Aktan began in journalism in 2000 on Bianet. He has worked as a journalist, a correspondent or an editor for l’Express, BirGün, Nokta, Yeni Aktüel, Newsweek Türkiye, Birikim, Radikal, birdirbir.org, gazete.com, Duvar. He was the Ankara representative for IMC-TV. He is the author of two books: “Nazê/Bir Göçüş Öyküsü” (Nazê/A tale of exodus ), “Zehir ve Panzehir: Kürt Sorunu” (Poison and antidote: The Kurdish Question). He presently writes for l’Express, Al Monitor, Artı Gerçek.

Sup­port Kedis­tan, MAKE A CONTRIBUTION.

We maintain the “Kedistan tool” as well as its archives. We are fiercely committed to it remaining free of charge, devoid of advertising and with ease of consultation for our readers, even if this has a financial costs, covered up till now by financial contributions (all the authors at Kedistan work on a volunteer basis).
Translation from French 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.
Auteur(e) invité(e)
Auteur(e)s Invité(e)s
AmiEs con­tributri­ces, con­tribu­teurs tra­ver­sant les pages de Kedis­tan, occa­sion­nelle­ment ou régulièrement…