Gökkan: I am in prison because I am a Kurdish woman

TJA spokeswoman Ayşe Gökkan, who was imprisoned in Turkey, explained at the trial in Nusaybin that she was charged because she was Kurdish.

The first hearing in the newly reopened trial against the Kurdish politician Ayşe Gökkan took place in Nusaybin (Nisêbîn) on Friday. The spokesperson for the Movement of Free Women (Tevgera Jinên Azad, TJA) and former mayor of Nusaybin is a political prisoner in Sincan prison and has already been sentenced to decades in jail in several trials.

Gökkan was connected via video broadcast from Sincan and said in the hearing that 300 criminal cases had been initiated against her in the 65 days of her official term as mayor of Nusaybin. Gökkan is under trial because of her resistance to the construction of a wall on the Turkish-Syrian border in 2013.

In court, Ayşe Gökkan said she refused to pay for an interpreter when she spoke in her native language, Kurdish. Regarding the accusation that she damaged a wire fence at the border, the politician referred to international agreements and said: "At that time, all state authorities committed crimes, only my action was not a crime."

Threats by soldiers

During her vigil against the planned construction of a wall on the border between Nusaybin and Qamişlo, Gökkan reported that she was exposed to threats and sexual violence. “It is always said that soldiers are people with honor and decency. However, a soldier played with his penis in front of me. They really were that dishonourable.” The proceedings initiated after their criminal complaint were discontinued after two months. The reason for the discontinuation was: "Our soldiers don’t do anything like that."

"No one can stop my resistance"

Gökkan continued: "I have not harmed anyone, nor the public conscience and morals. They throw people out of helicopters and bomb places. I have never caused such harm to anyone. Why am I blamed and not them? They send mothers the bodies of their children in plastic boxes, they destroy cemeteries. I didn’t do that. I am accused because I am a Kurd, a woman from Kurdistan. But I will continue to fight in prison. Nobody can stop my resistance. Long live the resistance in prisons! I will not defend myself because I have not committed any crime."

Trial adjourned to 22 December

Ayşe Gökkan's lawyers requested her acquittal. The hearing was adjourned to 22 December. When the trial observers tried to make a statement in front of the courthouse after the hearing, they were surrounded by the police.