Tuncel: We will build a democratic republic against racist mentality

“We want to build a democratic republic which promotes women’s emancipation against the monist and racist mentality,” said former co-chair of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Sebahat Tuncel during the hearing of the Kobane Trial.

The "Kobanê trial" against 108 defendants resumed in Ankara after a two-day break because of the presiding judge being in quarantine following contact with a Corona-infected person. The subject of the trial is the protests in Turkey at the time of the ISIS attack on Kobanê in October 2014. The defendants include the entire executive board of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) at the time, including the former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ. Twenty of the defendants are in prison.

The 108 defendants standing trial at the hearing, which is being held at the Ankara 22nd Heavy Penal Court in Sincan Prison Campus Trial Hall, are facing a total of 38 aggravated life sentences and 19,680 years in prison for 29 different offences.

In his speech, politician İsmail Şengül recalled the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Grand Chamber concerning Selahattin Demirtaş. Şengül said that the condition of "concrete evidence" was added to the "catalogue crimes" amended in the latest 4th judicial reform package.

Bülent Fingersiz, a former HDP Executive Board member, also spoke and stated that the case has been launched with political motives.

Jailed politician Ayşe Yağcı pointed out that there is no concrete evidence concerning the Kobane events in her file.

“We keep saying from the very beginning that this is a political case. HDP is one of the main political parties of this country,” said Pervin Oduncu, one of the jailed politicians.

Sebahat Tuncel spoke about the remarks of the presiding judge who said ‘Prove your words, then I will resign’. Tuncel said, “However, resignation is not possible in this country. When the relationship between the Minister of Internal Affairs and the mafia leader was revealed, the minister did not resign. There are serious problems in the field of health, but there is no resignation at all. The son of a former prime minister is claimed to have been involved in drug trade, but nobody resigns. Resignation is not an institution for blackmail, it is an institution to assume responsibility. However, Turkish state officials consider it a tool for blackmail.”


“The Kobane Trial is a political case, not a legal one. We are political hostages. The court is under the influence of the ruling ‘People's Alliance’. The Kurdish question exists in this very courtroom. The ruling AKP has carried the Kurdish question to the courtrooms,” Tuncel said.

“The government disenfranchises the Kurdish citizens. The AKP is trying to make a monist and nationalist constitution without taking the Kurds into account. It cannot solve problems. New problems are very likely to arise. In general, everyone has rights and freedoms. We can be anything but we cannot be Kurds. You could be a prime minister or a deputy, but you cannot be a Kurd,” she added.


Tuncel continued, “I personally do not have any request from you. But our arrested friends have been deprived of their freedom for a year. I demand the release of our friends. We are here despite the ECtHR ruling. Even if there was no ECtHR decision, would we be guilty? No, we would not. We are right and we do not favour the current administration in Turkey, we will never. We want to build a democratic republic which promotes women's emancipation against a monist and racist mentality. Is this a crime? I don't favour this constitution. I want to change it. That's why I am engaged in politics. I do not want women to be murdered and children abused in this country. I want peoples to determine their own destiny in this country. If these are crimes, I will continue to commit these crimes. We defend ourselves in any case with our heads held high. The current government is responsible for the conflicts and war in this country.”

Politicians Yüksekdağ, Kışanak and Akkaya, jailed in Kocaeli province, stated that they would not make a defence.

After the defense of the defendants, the court board ruled for the continuation of their detention and adjourned the hearing to October 18.