Kobanê trial to resume on Tuesday

The lawyers of the defendants in the Kobanê trial called on the prosecution to disclose how the "secret witnesses" were allegedly identified. One of them also appears as a witness in the closure case against the HDP.

The fifth main hearing in the "Kobanê trial" began in Ankara on Monday. Because the judge in charge was absent due to illness, the defendants, who were present in person as well as those connected via video conference, refused to give their defense speeches to the judge appointed to represent them.

The defendants in Ankara's so-called Kobanê trial, which is being heard at the courthouse on the Sincan prison campus, are 108 figures from politics, civil society and the Kurdish movement who are accused of terrorist crimes and murder in dozens of cases in connection with the protests during the ISIS attack on Kobanê in October 2014. For former HDP chairman Selahattin Demirtaş alone, the chief public prosecutor’s office is demanding up to 15,000 years in prison.

The Kobanê trial was triggered by a post by the HDP Executive Council on Twitter, which was written during an emergency meeting and, in addition to solidarity with the city in Western Kurdistan encircled by the terrorist militia "Islamic State" (ISIS), also called for an open-ended protest against the Turkish government for not ending its support for ISIS: "Urgent call to our peoples [...]! The situation in Kobanê is extremely critical. We call on our people to take to the streets and support those who are already on the streets to protest the ISIS attacks and the AKP government's embargo."

Mysterious witnesses

Today's trial day ended relatively quickly. The trial began with the announcement that the activist Aynur Aşan, who had been put on the wanted list as part of the investigation into the case, has now been arrested and that, as things stand, a total of 21 of the defendants are in prison.

This was followed by the statements of a number of lawyers, including Kenan Maçoğlu. The lawyer demanded that the court disclose how the "secret witnesses" Ulaş, Mahir and Kerem Gökalp, on whose statements the indictment is largely based, were involved in the case.

Despite various requests, no step has been taken to clarify the matter, Maçoğlu said. "The interrogation protocols are in the file, but nobody knows how they got there. We call on the prosecution to solve this mystery."

Moreover, the lawyer said that the "witness Gökalp" had not commented in any way on the Kobanê protests. In the ban proceedings against the HDP, the man who is said to have made use of the Turkish repentance law and is currently in prison also appears as a witness. "We never tire of saying it: this trial is a farce, a show trial, a political coup," Maçoğlu said.

Hearing to continue on Tuesday

The trial was observed by numerous politicians, including HDP deputies Ümit Dede, Mahmut Toğrul, Züleyha Gülüm, Serpil Kemalbay, Habip Eksik, Hişyar Özsoy, Kemal Pekgöz, İmam Taşçıer, Sait Dede, Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit, Tülay Hatimoğulları and Ali Kenanoğlu. HDP Legal Commission members and board members from various counties and provinces also sat in the hall. The trial will resume on Tuesday.