The wave of arrests of democratic activists in Turkey has reached a new peak. In a Turkey-wide large wave of arrests around 100 people were arrested, 70 of which are lawyers. This wave of arrests is part of the unprecedented attack against political activists during the last two years. Since then, more than 4500 people were arrested, most of them are still awaiting trial. Among the detainees are numerous democratically elected MPs, mayors and city council members, journalists, trade unionists, teachers and human rights activists. The arrests are aimed mainly against the Kurdish-democratic opposition and people who have opted for a peaceful negotiated solution to the Kurdish conflict.

Among those arrested today is virtually the entire defence team of the most prominent prisoner of Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan, including the secretary and the driver of the law firm. Ocalan himself has been cut off from his defence since 27 July – that is since 118 days. Any access to the prison island of Imrali has been denied to his lawyers. This arbitrary regime comes directly from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who targeted the lawyers in a statement to the press. Today’s arrests were made immediately after a meeting between Erdogan and the head of the intelligence service MIT.

At the same time, the Turkish army conducts massive cross-border air attacks on alleged guerilla positions in Iraq. This often leads also to civilian casualties. In the air raids on Turkish territory chemical weapons have been employed several times, most recently in the killing of 36 guerilla fighters in Çukurca, Hakkari on 22-24 October.

The ongoing massive attacks against the civilian society is the largest mass arrest since the military coup in 1980. These attacks are fatal to all attempts to bring about a bloodless negotiated settlement of the conflict. The Erdogan government proves that it has no interest whatsoever in such a solution. The attacks against the civil society are a direct attack on democracy.

The International Initiative calls for interventions in every possible way against the war policy of Turkey, which is increasingly becoming a police state. Only dialogue and negotiations can bring a stable peace and lead to a strengthening of democracy.

We call in particular to condemn the recent arrest of 70 lawyers and the concomitant attack on the rule of law.

International Initiative
 Freedom for Ocalan – Peace in Kurdistan
 P.O. Box 100511, D-50445 Koeln
 Telephone: +49 221 130 15 59
 Fax: +49 221 790 76 10 30
 E-Mail: [email protected]
 Url: <>

Cologne, 22 November 2011