Call for Respect for Democracy and Human Rights in Turkey Stop Arbitary Detentions - Freedom for Professor Büsra Ersanli
San Jose, Costa Rica, 20 January 2012
Professor Büsra Ersanli, member of the Peace and Democracy Party, BDP, one of our comrades and an active participant at the meetings of the Socialist International Women, was taken into custody on 28 October 2011 together with 143 other people, amongst them 32 women. The allegation/accusation is participation in the ‘terrorist activities’ of an organisation claimed to be the urban branch of the armed organization known as the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).
Professor Büsra Ersanli is one of the latest victims of the Erdogan government’s assault on public dissent. Büsra Ersanli is an academic; she has been a teacher at Marmara University, Istanbul for 22 years, whose only apparent ‘crime’ is to have played an active role within the Peace and Democracy Party, BDP, to have worked for the empowerment of women, to protect and promote human rights, to struggle against injustice towards Kurdish children and to support the political and cultural rights of the Kurdish people. Her didactic activity on political culture and the political system in Turkey has been labelled ‘lessons for insurrection of people’ by the Minister of Interior who has accused her of abusing her title as professor.
The BDP is a member party of the Socialist International, with observer status, which at the national election of June 2011 won 34 seats in the Turkish Parliament. In addition to the cultural and political rights of the Kurdish people, the BDP also defends and promotes women’s participation in politics as well as the rights of all victims of discrimination. Many members of the BDP have been systematically targeted by counter-terrorism units. All the 144 people arrested on 28 October 2011 are members or sympathizers of the BDP.
The evidence shown against Büsra Ersanli and the points brought up by the prosecutor are in the opinion of the Socialist International Women all on issues within the confines of freedom of speech. The alleged ‘evidence’ of participation in support of ‘terrorist activities’ consisting of notes on meetings, research papers, mobile phone calls, has been used as proof of a direct link between the above so-called evidence and acts of violence.
The Socialist International Women:
• expresses support to and solidarity with Büsra Ersanli and the other 143 members of the BDP and all other people under arbitrary arrest;
• requests that a quick and fair trial to be held for all of them;
• calls for all defenders of the democratic opposition in Turkey to raise awareness in Turkey and throughout the world of the current violations of civil and political liberties;
• calls for all defenders of freedom of speech and association to be active and draw international attention for the respect of democracy and human rights in Turkey and
• calls for an end to violence and for support of a fair and negotiated political solution and therefore reiterates its solidarity with those who make every effort to bring positive changes to Turkey by democratic and peaceful means.