Originally published in Evrensel (10/08/2018)
The Labour Party (EMEP) Chairwoman Selma Gürkan will be on trial, on October 9, because of criticising the Erdoğan government’s war policies.
Turkish government started a military intervention in Afrin in January 2018; fanning the flames of war in Syria. This was an operation named ‘Olive Branch’.
The Labour Party (EMEP) has always been critical of this intervention in a neighbouring country, as other democratic forces in Turkey. EMEP stated and ran a campaign of propaganda that this intervention will contribute to turning the region into a quagmire of war; that all military forces, primarily the imperialist forces, must withdraw from the region; that peoples of the region must determine their own futures.
However, the government defined this intervention as war and attempted to silence all those that are opposed to it. 16 members and administrators of EMEP had been arrested for sharing news bulletins and statements on social media; they have been freed after their first hearing.
EMEP chairwoman, Selma Gürkan, speaking prior to a hearing against their local representatives Neslihan Karyemez ve Bilal Karman, again criticised the Afrin operation and prosecution of members. This speech has been deemed to be “terrorist propaganda” and Gürkan is also being prosecuted.
Selma Gürkan said, “This is a prosecution of Turkish peoples’ demand for peace and democracy”.
The first hearing of Gürkan’s case will be held in İstanbul on 9 October 2018.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) sent a solidarity message with Selma Gürkan. Τhe KKE denounced “the dangerous escalation of repression, under the responsibility of the Turkish government, which attempts to criminalize every voice of opposition, criticism or questioning of Turkey’s military intervention in the territory of Syria, namely in Afrin”.
The KKE condemned the arrests of EMEP members and the prosecution of Selma Gürkan. KKE demanded the immediate stop of all persecutions and to ensure the uninhibited mass and political activity of the Turkish workers who have every right to struggle against the participation of their country in the imperialist wars and plans.
Revolutionary Democracy from India also sent a solidarity message before the case of Selma Gürkan. Revolutionary Democracy’s message is here:
“It is shocking to learn that Selma Gurkan, Chairperson of the EMEP, an internationally well-known democratic person, is being prosecuted for “terrorist propaganda.”
Her “crime” is to put forward the democratic position that Turkey should stop its military intervention in Afrin, Syria which began in January 2018. It is the common understanding across the globe that Turkey and other powers should depart from Syria and permit the peoples of Syria to decide their own future.
We express our solidarity with the democratic position of Selma Gurkan and call upon the Turkish government to withdraw its charges.”