Court denies suspect’s plea in Kurdish
ISTANBUL - Doğan News AgencyAn Istanbul court decided that a suspect who demanded the right to testify in Kurdish has used her right to testify, despite the fact that the court has not accepted the testimony.
The 12th High Criminal Court in Istanbul yesterday held hearings in the case of five suspects accused of bombing a supermarket in the city’s Bahçelievler district and aiding the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
One of the suspects, Mülkiye Doğan, demanded she be allowed to testify in Kurdish; however, the court denied her request, saying that the suspect previously entered her plea in Turkish, and the language she wanted to use is “not understandable.”
The prosecutor in the case then claimed that the suspect had used her right to testify, and the court should decide on that basis.
The court also denied the suspect’s demand for a translator, and released an interim decision in which it said that the suspect was born and educated in Turkey and has testified in Turkish before, and therefore her demand to testify in Kurdish does not have a legal basis. The decision read that the court found the suspect to have used her right to testify.
Requests to testify in Kurdish have created similar crises in the ongoing Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır several times, and the case has been postponed several times due to this issue. One Diyarbakır court turned off a suspect’s microphone when he spoke in Kurdish during the KCK case, in which 152 Kurdish politicians, 104 of whom have been detained, are on trial.
When the court said suspect Veysel Yıldırım spoke in “a language which it thought to be Kurdish,” defense lawyer Feride Laçin asked the court board for the language spoken to be officially determined. Diyarbakır Bar Association Chairman Mehmet Emin Aktar said the case’s prosecutors used tape recordings and documents in Kurdish as evidence and asked why testimony given in Kurdish was not accepted as part of the defense. The KCK is the outlawed alleged urban wing of the PKK.