The separatism behind the attacks on HDP

So, basically, the life of HDP co-leader Selehattin Demirtas was directly threatened. The bombs going off simultaneously in front of the HDP offices in Adana and Mersin not too long before Demirtas was to arrive in Mersin, where the HDP held an election rally that day, could have killed him. Meanwhile it is the governing party AKP that is trying to make people believe that the life of President Erdogan is under threat, by totally distorting a headline in one of Turkey’s biggest newspapers, Hürriyet). Continue reading “The separatism behind the attacks on HDP”

Is Turkey trying to suffocate life in Kobani again?

‘We cannot do anything to stop them coming back’, Fayza Abdi, co-president of the Legislative Council of Kobani, tells me. We talk at a conference on the rebuilding of Kobani, after in January the YPG, YPJ, the peshmerga and US bombs kicked ISIS’ butt and chased them out of the canton. ‘We tell Kobani citizens who want to return home to wait, but what can we do if they don’t listen?’
The only thing the administration of Kobani can do is to plead with Turkey to open a customs gate at the border, so not only people, but also materials can pass through. But Turkey doesn’t listen to Kobani’s pleas. What this implies really disturbs me. Continue reading “Is Turkey trying to suffocate life in Kobani again?”

We were all from Digranakert

‘Apologizing’, Abdullah Demirbas told me in an interview last week, ‘doesn’t weaken you. It makes you stronger.’ We were talking about (what else these days?) the commemoration of the Armenian genocide. Most stories you read about it these days deal with how the Turkish state handles this black page in its history: defiant, in denial, harsh, without love. The Kurds show that there is another way. Continue reading “We were all from Digranakert”

Savunmam: kimlik ve basın özgürlüğü

(Bu savunmamdır. Durusma salonunda böyle, Türkçe, okudum, 8 Nisan 2015.
Find the English version here!)

Sayın savcının son yıllarda yazdığım bazı yazılardan kopyala yapıştır ile aldığı cümleleri gördüğümde, hemen aklıma savunmam için aynı metinlere başvurmayı düşündüm. Örneğin Kürt kimliği üzerine İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi’ndeki bir konferans için yazdığım metinden bazı cümleler var. Van’da röportaj yaptığım, dağa çıkıp çıkmamak konusundaki düşünce sürecini anlatan bir öğrenci hakkında yazmıştım. Bu, her açıdan kimlikle ilgiliydi, çünkü ona göre, gerilla olmayı seçmeden çok önce bir insanın kendini gerçekten tanıması gerekiyordu. Kendini değerlendirdiğinde, kararını geciktirmişti çünkü ondan bir gerilla olmayacağına karar vermekten çok korkuyordu. ‘Belki’ dedi, ‘her şeye karşın karşısında mücadele ettiğim sistemin içinde yaşamak isteyeceğim.’ Continue reading “Savunmam: kimlik ve basın özgürlüğü”

Identity and the core of press freedom – my defence

(This is the English version of my defence in the trial against me, read out in Turkish in Diyarbakir court on 8 April 2015.)

When I saw the sentences the respected prosecutor had copy-pasted from some of my writings from last year, I immediately wondered if I should draw on these writings in my defence. For example, there are a few sentences from a piece I wrote for a conference at Istanbul’s Biligi University, about Kurdish identity. I wrote about a student I spoke to in Van, who talked about his deliberations on whether to go to the mountains or not. It had everything to do with identity, because in his view, you had to know yourself really well before you could choose to be a guerrilla. And he postponed really looking at himself because he was so afraid that he would conclude that there was no guerrilla in him. ‘Maybe’, he said, ‘I will find out that, despite everything, I prefer to live inside the system I am fighting against’. Continue reading “Identity and the core of press freedom – my defence”

No, it’s not justice prevailing in the court case against me

Türkce burada okuyabilirsiniz

‘He’s going to ask for acquittal’. My lawyer walks over to me from his place in the court room and sits down on the chair next to mine. He whispers it in my ear, while the prosecutor continues his plea. ‘He hasn’t said it yet, but I know it from the way he is developing his plea. This will be an acquittal.’ And indeed, a few minutes later the prosecutor demands acquittal. I have to wait till Monday for the final verdict, but I start to smile: the court case against me ends without conviction. Continue reading “No, it’s not justice prevailing in the court case against me”

The ceasefire depends on two strong leaders

(Turkce burada okuyabilirsini)

Infighting in the AKP. I’m sure many people are gloating, less than three months before the elections in which the AKP wants to win enough votes to single-handedly change the constitution. But what does it mean for the (so called) peace process? Especially when you add the possible weakening of Öcalan to the equation? The peace process, after all, has survived the total lack of progress partly because of the total faith the two leaders are shown by their constituency. What if that trust disappears? Continue reading “The ceasefire depends on two strong leaders”

What if HDP voters believe the elections were not fair?

Many people have been asking me lately if I think the HDP will cross the 10% election threshold, looking at me with an expectation as if I had some crystal ball. Like everybody else, I haven’t a clue. I also don’t know what will happen if they don’t make the threshold and won’t be in parliament. Journalists may be able to explain what is happening currently, but are definitely not clairvoyants. Continue reading “What if HDP voters believe the elections were not fair?”

Facing Roboski: a painful but necessary part of the peace process

(Türkçe burada okuyabilirsiniz)

An intelligence officer in the Turkish army, Milliyet journalist Kemal Göktas revealed on Monday, told his superiors on the evening of the Roboski massacre that the group they were planning to bomb was most likely just villagers and not PKK members. Aygün Eker, who is a colonel now, did get through to his chief, Brigadier General Halil Erkek, but higher up in the chain of command they refused to listen. The group was bombed and 34 people who were smuggling cigarettes, tea and petrol, were killed. Twenty of them were minors.

Front page of Milliyet, Monday 16 February 2015
Front page of Milliyet, Monday 16 February 2015

What is exactly the news here? That the army knew they were bombing civilians on that evening of 28 December 2011? No, I don’t think that’s the news. Whoever really delved into the Roboski massacre would easily have concluded already that it was most likely not an accident. There are loads of indications for that, and combined with some basic journalism and logical thinking, the conclusion can be easily drawn – I’m not getting into the details here, since I have written about them before. Continue reading “Facing Roboski: a painful but necessary part of the peace process”

Why does my writing scare you and the government you work for, Akif?

Akif Beki has a column in Hürriyet, one of the biggest papers in Turkey. Considering him a ‘pro government columnist’ wouldn’t describe him properly: he is plainly a government writer. To illustrate that qualification: Akif Beki is one of the few Turkish ‘journalists’ who still have access to Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential plane, in other words, who are fully approved by Turkey’s most powerful man.

dikencomtrA few days ago, Akif Beki wrote a column about me. It was about the court case the state opened against me for ‘making propaganda for a terrorist organization’. He claimed that everywhere in the world, also in Europe, anti terrorism laws are tightened, and that if I wrote about ISIS in Europe the way I write about the PKK in Turkey, I’d be behind bars already.
He repeatedly referred to me as ‘matmazel’, which is Turkish for ‘mademoiselle’.

Here is my answer to him. You can find it in Turkish here on If you want to read his column, I suggest you google it. No way I’ll put a link here. Continue reading “Why does my writing scare you and the government you work for, Akif?”