Amnesty Turkey head will return to work
As you know, last month, a group of human rights activists who had gathered in Büyükada at a training intended for the protection of human rights activists, were taken into custody, and afterwards were arrested.
Even though suspicions had arisen around having the meeting on the island, in fact, having a meeting on the island is an ordinary thing. Once, I had also joined a workshop in Heybeliada. Together with a group of academicians, journalists, and legal experts, we had talked about the circumstances within the media. The reason for having a meeting on an island is so that you do not get stuck in a hotel room for two days but work in a peaceful atmosphere with a clear head.
Besides, if the one on Büyükada was a “secret and dangerous” meeting as claimed, would the meeting room’s doors be open?
“The door was open,” is written on the official report. Today, I will tell you about Amnesty International Turkey’s director İdil Eser who was arrested on charges of “helping an armed terrorist organization” because of joining this meeting. I will tell you about her from her friends’ point of view.
İdil was born in 1963 in İstanbul. She studied business management at Istanbul University after graduating from the Üsküdar American Academy and did her postgraduate in International Relations at Columbia University. For many years, she worked as a freelance translator after she finished her doctorate degree courses at Chicago University’s department of Russian history.
In the beginning of the 1980s, she insistently set up a theater team in a dead silent faculty during a period when universities’ social activities were banned in the country, as if the students were naturally at their disposition and five people could not gather together in a square. In this period, she succeeded in putting a theater play on stage named “Ben Ruhi Bey Nasılım?” from Edip Cansever’s book of poems. The play met its audience that year on city and state theaters.
İdil is a real book worm. She is someone who reads quantum physics—although it sounds hard to believe—when she wants to let herself go to take a break from the many books and news.
İdil lost her parents at a very young age. She never married and never had a child. Since she does not have any family members and her friends are not allowed to visit her, İdil currently spends her visiting days in prison without seeing anyone.
İdil is a woman who chose a lifestyle bearing the consciousness of producing, sharing and being a human being, going against the harsh model of consumption. She always adopted the principle of offering her knowledge under the roof of nongovernmental organizations. She is a woman who believes there can be freedom and a comfortable and peaceful life for all living beings, and always keeps her hopes alive in respect to this.
“How many people can undertake the miseries of an oak tree, a refugee mother, a father whose rights have been usurped, a burnt Caretta, a child who is left to his own fate on the streets?” ask her friends and they add, “On the news, they call them ‘human rights activists;’ whereas it is living beings and their living rights, that concern these people.”
Despite the offense imputed to her, İdil has strived for a more beautiful and livable world for years. She is one of the secret heroes who try to extinguish the fires which we ourselves do not feel because these disasters are on a tangent to many of us. She is also the one who tries to prevent similar disasters.
“Finally, her name is known. But her recognition should not have been in this way,” say her friends.
Still, they have strong faith…
They have no doubt İdil will come out and will continue working with all her strength for a world that is yearned for.