Turkey Today — Who Is Next Tomorrow?A Call for International Trial Observers

Ibrahim Çiçek, Chief Editor of Turkish socialist newspaper Atilim

Starting September 8, 2006 and during the several following months, over 120 socialists, communists, and other people of leftist orientation have been arrested by the Turkish Anti-Terror Police Department.  Among them are journalists, including Ibrahim Cicek, the Chief Editor of weekly revolutionary socialist newspaper Atilim www.atilim.org, as well as other staff of this newspaper; Fusun Erdogan, Chief Coordinator of socialist Ozgur Radyo (Freedom Radio); Cicek Otlu, President of Labouring Women’s Association (EKD), Cem Dinc President of shipbuilders’ trade union Limer-Is; Ayse Yumli Yeter, President of textile workers’ trade union Tekstil-Sen; leaders of human rights association, Socialist Platform of the Oppressed (ESP), Socialist Youth Association (SGD), and several cultural centres.  Over 50 offices of these organizations and homes of their activists in 20 cities of Turkey were raided by special police forces, and their documents, membership and contact lists, literature, cell phones, and computers were confiscated.  The arrested most often were taken to the Vatan Anti-Terror Branch in Istanbul known as the torture centre.  Most of them are held in F-type prisons with the strictest form of cell isolation.  The arrests occurred as a result of putting the newly created Anti-Terror Law into practice.  Obviously, the first target of this law are left organizations.

On April 13, 2007 in Istanbul begin trials of socialist journalists, trade unionists, and human rights activists.  More trials will follow, likely later this year.  However, this first one is going to set the standard of how far a state can push aside freedom of speech and organizing.  It will be the key to determining the rights and very existence of trade unions in Turkey.  It will set the precedent for all relevant upcoming trials.

International support from individuals and organizations who cannot remain indifferent to such violation of basic rights is vitally important.  If you would like to join the international support team in observing this or any subsequent trials, please contact:

Larisa Schirba

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