My Turkish identity led to my arrest, says imprisoned Ersanlı

My Turkish identity led to my arrest, says imprisoned Ersanlı

Ömer Şahin Radikal
My Turkish identity led to my arrest, says imprisoned Ersanlı

Protests outside the courtroom have been continuing for the release of Professor Ersanlı (inset) who is tried under KCK case. AA photo

A suspect arrested as part of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) probe believes her participation in a party known to be pro-Kurdish along with her identity as a Turkish, female intellectual played a role in the actions taken against her. 

Prof. Büşra Ersanlı is an academic and an administrator in the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), as well as a member of Parliament’s new constitution commission. She was arrested eight months ago as part of KCK probe. Ersanlı said she could not forget the day a detention order was issued for her and police came and raided her house. “I had believed in democracy. I thought democracy would exist in this country, but I lost my trust [at that moment],” she said. 

Ersanlı thinks her “Turkishness” affected her detention process to a certain degree. She believes she is now paying for her noncompliance with the mainstream political culture of Turkey with her identity and function. “For those who are not used to the idea of a Turk being a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party [BDP], it is a tragedy. They have regarded the Kurds as slaves for years. They wanted to deter me from this path as an intellectual, as a woman and as a Turk at the same time,” Ersanlı said. 

Despite having been arrested as part of the KCK probe, Ersanlı has denied having any relations with the KCK. “I am a BDP member. That’s all,” she said. “As an arrested academic, I can’t expect much. I don’t think anything about my release. The package does not matter to me,” Ersanlı said, referring to the possibility that the third judicial reform package may bring a release from prison. 

Zana-Erdoğan meet

The meeting between Kurdish politician Leyla Zana and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a positive development, according to Ersanlı, who said it was natural for people to believe that the leaders in power could solve problems. “However, the other side of the coin should also be considered. If those working and thinking on this issue [of the Kurdish problem] are under arrest for nine months, my loss of trust in the government is natural,” she said. Erdoğan met with independent Diyarbakır deputy Leyla Zana on June 30 to discuss the Kurdish issue and brainstorm a solution to it.

A change in the constitution is essential for the solution of Kurdish problem, Ersanlı said. She emphasized that equal citizenship must be provided in every arena including education, organization and politics. Ersanlı also wants the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to support the solution. “The MHP must also be involved in the process if they really care about the Turks. If there are concerned people, then some formulas should be created to erase these concerns,” Ersanlı said. If she was not currently under arrest Ersanlı said she would try to talk to MHP Istanbul deputy and Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Meral Akşener about the party’s reluctance to begin a discussion. 

Learning Kurdish

Ersanlı has been in Silivri prison for 10 days after being held for eight months in Bakırköy Women’s Prison with other women arrested as part of the KCK probe. There are a total of 33 people living together in the two wards. Ersanlı had been arrested due to courses she gave in the Politics Academy of the BDP and has established an academy of her own in the prison since her arrest. She gave “Introduction to Ideologies and Political Science” lessons to 25 women convicts in a common room. Ersanlı also started to learn Kurdish in order to catch up with the politics of the BDP. She said she found learning Kurdish verbs to be difficult, but planned to continue learning once she is released.

‘Ersanlı is no terrorist’

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that he does not believe Professor Büşra Ersanlı, who has been under arrest as part of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) probe, is a terrorist, adding that he can not interfere in the judicial process.

“I don’t believe she is a terrorist. However, these opinions do not give me the right to intervene in the judiciary. After all, the judiciary is an independent process. Those who criticize it said ‘Why are you interfering?’ for one case, while they said ‘Why don’t you interfere?’ for another,” Davutoğlu said. 

He said the judiciary could not be interfered with. “Some assume that these detentions are the result of the government’s decision and the ruling party gives the orders. However, the judiciary is independent,” Davutoğlu said. 

Davutoğlu also added that he sided with the freedom of expression. 

“In the European Court of Human Rights, we don’t even defend the subjects related to freedom of expression anymore. But unfortunately, we are paying million dollars of compensation due to incorrect judicial decisions and processes in the cases of expression,” Davutoğlu said.