Suspect fails to read testimony in Kurdish
ERZURUM - Doğan News AgencyA university student charged with being a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) “Self-Defense Unit” and engaging in the burning of a school, made his defense in Turkish yesterday, after being unable to read the Kurdish text he had prepared.
A number of university students charged with “being a member of a terrorist organization” and “attempting to damage public property” were tried on March 4 at an Erzurum court. They were all handed sentences of seven-and-a-half to 27 years in prison. The defendants had demanded to conduct their defense in Kurdish. However, one of the defendants, Seyithan Erkan, failed to read his Kurdish text.
“Some claims suggest that there is a pressure in prisons to make [the defendants] read Kurdish texts. So, the right to testify freely is being violated. You must defend yourself in a language through which you express yourself most clearly,” court president Mustafa Kahya told Erkan following the incident.
After Kahya’s words, Erkan defended himself in Turkish.
On Feb. 15, Beritan Doğan, a suspect arrested as part of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case, who previously refused to make her defense in Turkish, has said she will defend herself in Turkish because she does not actually speak Kurdish.