Sunday, April 8, 2012

KCK Indictment Accepted: Prof. Busra Ersanli and Publisher Ragip Zarakolu Charged with "Leading" and "Aiding A Terrorist Organization"

Hurriyet Daily News reported that, on April 3, 2012, a specially authorized Istanbul court accepted the indictment against 193 suspects in the ongoing Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case, in which prominent intellectuals Prof. Büşra Ersanlı and publisher Ragıp Zarakolu stand as suspects.

GIT North America previously covered the news about the specially authorized Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Adnan Çimen's 2.400 pages indictment which charges Prof. Büşra Ersanlı with “leading a terrorist organization” and publisher Ragıp Zarakolu with “aiding a terrorist organization.” Çimen demands 15 to 22.5 years for Ersanlı and 7.5 to 15 years for Zarakolu. Zarakolu and Ersanlı were arrested on Nov. 1, 2011, resulting in protests from national and international organizations. Zarakolu was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last month by a group of Swedish lawmakers. 

Pen International also expressed concern at the arrest of Ersanli and Zarakolu and the charges raised against them in the indictment. It asked its members to send appeals  to Minister of Justice, Sadullah Ergin, "expressing alarm at the continued detention of Ragıp Zarakolu, Professor Büşra Ersanlı, Ayşe Berktay, Deniz Zarakolu, and other writers and journalists detained because of their alleged affiliation with Kurdish political parties" and "expressing concerns that the arrests flout international standards protecting the rights to freedom of expression and association as guaranteed by both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the European Convention on Human and Democratic Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory". To read the complete text of the Pen Appeal please visit their website

In a news report published on April 6, 2012, Today's Zaman reported that the EU also has voiced its concern about the indictment of Ersanlı and Zarakolu. In a statement issued from the press office of European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Füle, the EU stated that "the Commission is concerned about the indictment of Turkish academic, Prof. Busra Ersanlı and writer Ragip Zarakolu. While underlining the Commission’s full solidarity with Turkey in its struggle against terrorism, the Commission also stresses that such a struggle must be carried out in full respect of fundamental rights and freedoms. Both the Turkish anti-terror legislation and its interpretation raise concerns in this respect. The solution to the Kurdish issue and to all the problems in the Southeast can only be attained through the widest possible contribution of all democratic forces, and an open and frank public discussion that can be conducted in the full respect of basic fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and/or freedom of assembly.”