‘Kobanê Trial will affect the future of the country’

A group of 159 academics, writers, MPs and lawyers demanded the release of those imprisoned in the Kobanê Trial and said, "This case will affect the future of the country."


159 personalities, including academics, writers, MPs and lawyers, published a joint statement on the Kobanê Trial, which is expected to be concluded on 16 May.

The full text of the joint statement is as follows:

"The results of the local elections have strengthened the expectation of political détente, peace and tranquillity that society demands. The prerequisite for the realisation of this expectation and hope is the transformation of the judiciary from being under the command of the political authority into an independent institution that dispenses justice in accordance with the rule of law principle of the Constitution.

In this context, we are on the verge of a decision that will affect the future of the country. The verdict in the Kobanê Trial, which will be held in the coming days, will be an indicator of whether the government will respect the principle of an independent judiciary or not, both in domestic and foreign public opinion in favour of peace and democracy. Because this case is a key point in cases where the judiciary is used as a political tool, as in the Gezi Trial. In this respect, it is of critical importance not only for the DEM Party and the people of the region, but also for the future of our country.

The verdict in the Kobanê case should be a signal that the lawlessness in the country will end and the judiciary will regain its independence. Kobanê and similar collusive cases must be finalised in accordance with the requirements of the law. All politically motivated victimisation in the field of law, especially the convictions in the Gezi Trial, which are not based on any objective evidence, must be eliminated.

What must be done is clear: Kobane detainees must be released immediately, in accordance with the judgements of the ECtHR, which are binding on all organs of state parties, and the decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which is responsible for implementation, for the release of Demirtaş and other detainees without delay. It is an obligation of membership of the Council of Europe that the government and the judiciary take into account the decision of the Committee of Ministers.

Recent political developments have shown that the politics of tension, injustice and lawlessness do not provide peace and confidence to the society and do not gain approval from the masses. We hope and expect that the verdict of the Kobanê Trial will be instrumental in the construction of the rule of law and social peace."


A total of 108 personalities from politics, civil society and the Kurdish freedom movement are accused in the mammoth trial, including the entire former executive committee of DEM's predecessor party, the HDP. They are accused of murder in dozens of cases as well as "incitement to insurrection" and "dividing the unity and integrity of the country" in connection with protests between 6 and 8 October 2014 against the ISIS attack on Kobanê. The charge is based on a Twitter message posted by the HDP on 6 October 2014. The message called for democratic protests in solidarity with the people of Kobanê in northern Syria. The Public Prosecutor General's Office is demanding aggravated life imprisonment with no prospect of release.

Many of the defendants have been in prison since November 2016. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) categorises their arrest as politically motivated and has ordered their release several times. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe also called for the release of the former HDP MPs in March. Turkey is ignoring these decisions.

The defendants in prison are the former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, as well as Gültan Kışanak, Sebahat Tuncel, Alp Altınörs, Ayka Akat Ata, Ali Ürküt, Ayşe Yağcı, Bülent Barmaksız, Dilek Yağcı, Günay Kubilay, İsmail Şengül, Meryem Adıbelli, Nazmi Gür, Pervin Oduncu, Zeynep Karaman, Aynur Aşan and Zeynep Ölbeci.