‘Wise man’ being tried for alleged terror links
ANKARA – Anatolia News Agency
Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) chairman Lami Özgen speaks to the press. AA photoOne of the members of the “Wise Persons’ Commission” appointed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as part of the bid to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue, Lami Özgen stood trial today for his alleged role in the so-called urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“On one side being tried, in other words being accused, of terrorism and on the other side being wise person. This is the tragedy of this country seen in my case, a tragedy that has lasted 30 years,” Özgen told the reporters gathered before Ankara Courthouse.
Özgen was appointed by the government as a member of the Wise Persons’ Southeastern Anatolia Region committee, a government initiative that will take an active role in the country’s recent efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue, on April 2.
The seven groups of wise people, each of which will represent one of the seven geographical regions of Turkey, are set to visit their regions and prepare reports.
Özgen will meet group after today's trial in Diyarbakır to kick off their work.
A total of 72 people, many of them high-level figures of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), were detained June 25, 2012, on charges of membership of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK). Six more members were arrested on June 29 in the ongoing KCK probe, while seven members, including Lami Özgen, the confederation’s chairman, were released afterwards.
“In the process of developing dialogue and negotiations, many things KESK have said and are set to say will become real,” Özgen said.
“This trial shows the reality of how cruelly the security concept is being applied. All opposition elements are being tried on charges connected to terrorism under the anti-terror law code,” Özgen added.
“We do not have any relations with illegal organizations. We have a unionist goal. We believe we can reach our conclusion in the struggle to bring democracy to this country,” Özgen said in his defense.
Özgen said the case was started as “black propaganda” against their union, the activities of which were thus now being portrayed as “illegal.”
He also said the sensitivity of Kurdish unionists to the Kurdish issue was not a crime to be investigated.
“We are workers, unionist, Kurdish and socialists. The probe called KCK continues with the same mentality; all the Kurds who conduct a social and political struggle are being tried in order to be portrayed as members of illegal organizations. Kurds who try to struggle within the scope of their legal rights are being tried in order for them to be imprisoned,” Özgen said.
The KCK is the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Nearly 8,000 people have been detained as part of the KCK operations, causing tension between the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the government. Many of BDP’s local officials and mayors are among detainees.