Release our friends!

We demand that all our friends who were detained in operations against HDP on the morning of September 25, 2020, including our peace signatory comrade, peace academic Prof. Dr. Beyza Üstün, be released immediately.

Academics for Peace

Background Information:

As part of an investigation conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the Kobani incidents on October 6-8, 2014, detention warrants were issued against 82 members of the HDP, including 24 former Central Executive Committee members, on September 26. Following these orders for detention, Ayhan Bilgen, Alp Altınörs, Nazmi Gür, Altan Tan, Ayla Akat Aka, Emine Ayna, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Bircan Yorulmaz, Gülfer Akkaya, Berfin Özgü Köse, Dilek Yağlı, Can Memiş, Günay Kubilay, Bülent Barmaksız, Zeki Çelik, Pervin Oduncu, İsmail Şengün, Ali Ürküt, Cihan Erdal, Emine Beyza Üstün were taken into custody.

On the day of the operation, the detainees were taken from other provinces to the Ankara Security Directorate in the capital city. They were restricted from meeting their attorneys for 24 hours. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office requested an extension of their detention on the grounds that the scope of the investigation is wide, the number of suspects is high and collecting evidence is difficult. Ankara 3rd Penal Judgeship of Peace extended the 20 HDP members’ detention periods by four days. The politicians were then brought back to the Ankara Security Directorate

The Kobani protests

Before the protests held to support Kobani in northern Syria in 2014, those who were waiting in the district of Suruç, Urfa in southeastern Turkey and wanted to cross the border were intervened with pepper gas and rubber bullets. In the meantime, some pictures allegedly showing ISIS militia crossing the border of Turkey were published.

President and ruling AKP Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made statements indicating that they equated PKK with ISIS. While the wounded coming from Kobani were kept waiting on the border, the wounded from ISIS were treated at hospitals. Several news reports were reported in the press, saying “Kobani fell.” These news reports were denied every time.
After HDP made a call to take to the streets against a possible massacre in Kobani, thousands of people protested in Kurdish-majority provinces as well as Ankara and İstanbul. While left parties also supported these protests, deaths also occurred with the onset of police violence. Street conflicts ensued. 42 people lost their lives from October 6 to 12, 2014.

According to a report by the Human Rights Association (İHD), 46 people died, 682 people were wounded and 323 people were arrested in the protests held between October 6 and 8, 2014. As reported by the AA, 31 people lost their lives, 221 citizens and 139 police officers were wounded.

Conducted by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman, the investigation started a year ago. First, the depositions of former jailed HDP Co-Chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş were interrogated as part of this investigation. Released in the trial where he had been arrested pending trial, Demirtaş faced another ruling of arrest as part of this “Kobani investigation” on the same day.

For more information on the detentions: