ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Police took safety measures around Silivri Prison in case of possible protests. Two troops of commandos were sent to Silivri according to the reports. DHA photo
The trial of 193 defendants including prominent intellectuals as part of Kurdistan Communities Union
(KCK) inquiry begins today in Istanbul. The trial attracts Turkey’s and the international community’s attention to Istanbul’s Silivri district where a major court will also be the base for nongovernmental organizations and leading writers’ unions such as PEN and IPA as observers.
The case was filed against 193 defendants, 132 of whom were arrested. The numerous detentions of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) members and jailing of human rights activist and publisher Ragıp Zarakolu, his son Cihan Deniz Zarakolu and academic Büşra Ersanlı have drawn remarkable domestic and international reactions.
Ragıp Zarakolu’s case was brought to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for a violation of the right to fair trial and the “long-term period of detention.” Zarakolu was released by the court pending a trial on April 10. The indictment of the Istanbul chief prosecutor with special authority charges Professor Büşra Ersanlı with being a leader of and publisher Ragıp Zarakolu with aiding a terrorist organization. Prosecutor Adnan Çimen demanded 19 to 38.5 years for Ersanlı and 7.5 to 15 years for Zarakolu.
Two members of the International Pen and the International Publishing Association (IPA) will be present in the courtroom. The representatives of ‘Reporters without Borders’ and ‘The World Tribunal on Iraq’ (WTI) will also watch the trial. “This is one of the most confusing mass trials here in Turkey. Nearly 200 people are charged with membership in a terrorist organization or sympathizing with illegal groups opposed the ruling party’s policies. The impression given by this trial is that the judicial system in Turkey is in a state of chaos,” PEN Vice President Eugene Schoulgin told the Hürriyet Daily News.