'Girl with red foulard' joins PKK
Tuğçe Yıldız - HürriyetA young woman in Antalya, who faces up to 98 years in prison for participating in last year’s Gezi Park protests, has joined the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), her mother confirmed in a statement to daily Hürriyet on June 20.
Ayşe Deniz Karacagil spent four months in custody and became publicly known as “the girl with the red foulard” after police and prosecutors linked the color of her scarf to socialism during her interrogations.
Her mother, Nuray Erçağan, has confirmed a report by daily Yeni Özgür Politika, which claimed that Karacagil “decided to join the Kurdish independence struggle in prison by going to the mountains with the name ‘Destan Yörük’ as her alias.”
“Going to the mountains,” is a phrase used in Turkey to refer to those who join the PKK’s armed fight in mountainous areas. The outlawed group’s headquarters and military camps have been based in the Kandil Mountains, located along the Iranian border with Iraq, for nearly 20 years.
“She called me on my birthday. ‘Dear mother, I love you so much, I’m an artist of freedom. Don’t be sad,’ she told me, as if saying goodbye,” Erçağan said, adding that she supported any decision taken by her daughter.
“Turkey has lost my child. People want to create their own justice in this country where there is no justice,” she also said, stressing that she still worried about her daughter’s safety, considering the young people who were killed during the Gezi Park protests.
Karacagil, who was released pending trial on Feb. 7, faces between 24 and 98 years of prison with four of her friends for charges of “membership of a terrorist organization,” “opposing the Assembly Law” and “resisting against law enforcement officers.”
'Sent to cell full of PKK members'
Meanwhile, her lawyer slammed the authorities’ move to transfer their client to a prison full of PKK convicts in an Alanya prison facility located in the Antalya province of Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast.
“When she was staying in the same cell with a DHKP/C [outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party–Front] member in Antalya, she was sent to Alanya without having received any disciplinary penalty. Once there, she was sent to a cell consisting mainly of PKK members. We filed an objection to the prison administration, but it was rejected. During her stay in prison, Deniz learned Kurdish; she listened to them and eventually revolted. It was evident it would end up like this,” said Hakan Evcin.
“If you demand 98 years in jail for a young woman just because she participated in a political rally wearing a red foulard, then you shouldn’t be surprised at this result,” he said.