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

Cologne, 22 November 2011

Press statement:
Massive Attacks on Lawyers

Statement of the International Initiative

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.

First signatories of the International Initiative:

Máiréad Maguire (Nobel Prize Award, Northern Ireland), Dario Fo (Director, Writer, Actor, Nobel Literature Prize Award, Italy), Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Nobel Literature Prize Award, Argentine), Jose Ramos-Horta (Peace Nobel Prize Award, East-Timor), José Saramago (Nobel Literature Prize Award, Portugal), Danielle Mitterrand (President, Donation France Liberté, France), Ramsey Clark (Lawyer, former Attorney General, USA), Uri Avnery (Former Member of Knesset, Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc), Israel), Prof. Dr. Noam Chomsky (Linguist, Writer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), Alain Lipietz (Member of the European Parliament, France), Pedro Marset Carpos (Member of the European Parliament, Spain), Mrs. Jean Lambert (Member of the European Parliament, GB), Lord Avebury (Chairman, Parliamentary Human Rights Group, House of Lords, GB), Harry Cohen (Member of Parliament, Labour Party, GB), Cynog Dafis (Member of Parliament, Plaid Cymru, GB), Lord Raymond Hylton (House of Lords, GB), Lord Rea (House of Lords, Great Britain), Walid Jumblat (President, Socialist Progressive Party, Lebanon), Rudi Vis (Member of Parliament, Labour Party, GB), Paul Flynn (Member of Parliament, Labour Party, Great Britain), Máiréad Keane (Director, International Department, Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland), Domenico Gallo (Lawyer, former senator (CI), member of Magistratura Democratica, Italy), Livio Pepino (Lawyer, President of Magistratura Democratica, Italy), Xabier Arzalluz (President, PNV (Basque Nationalist Party), Tony Benn (Member of Parliament, Labour Party, GB), Giovanni Palombarini (Lawyer, former president of Magistratura Democratica, Italy), Heidi Ambrosch (Vice-president and Women Speaker, Communist Party of Austria), Mag. Walter Baier (President, Communist Party of Austria), Giana Nanini (Artist, Italy), Geraldine Chaplin (Actress, Madrid, Spain), Dietrich Kittner, (Humorist, Writer, Cabarettist, Germany), David MacDowall, (Writer, GB), Alice Walker, (Writer, USA), Franca Rame, (Actress, Director, Writer, Italy), Prof. Dr. Jean Ziegler (Member of the Swiss National Council, Publisher, Switzerland), Dr. Diether Dehm (Vice President, PDS, Germany), Prof. Dr. Angela Davis (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA), Prof. Dr. Luigi Ferraioli (Philosophy and Law Professor, Italy), Prof. Dr. Uwe Jens Heuer (Law Professor, Berlin, Germany), Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Narr (Comittee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy, Germany), Prof. Dr. Werner Ruf (International Law Professor, Kassel University, Germany), Prof. Dr. Norman Paech (International Law Professor, Hamburg School of Economy and Politics, Germany), Prof. Dr. Gerhard Stuby (International Law Professor, Bremen University, Germany), Prof. Dr. h.c. Ronald Mönch (Chair of Bremen Highschool, Germany), Prof. Dr. Elmar Altvater (President, International Lelio Basso Donation for the rights of the peoples, Germany), Prof. Dr. Helmut Dahmer (Sociology Professor, Darmstadt Technical University, Germany), Prof. Jürgen Waller (Chair of School of Arts, Bremen, Germany), Christine Blower (Former President, National Union of Teachers (NUT), Great Britain), Ken Cameron (General Secretary, Fire Brigades Union (FBU), GB), Josep Lluis Carod Rouira (President ERC, Barcelona, Spain), Michael Feeny (Adviser of Cardinal Hume in refugee affaires, GB), Gareth Peirce (Lawyer, Great Britain Frances Webber, Barrister, GB), Norbert Mattes (Information Project Near und Middle East, Germany), Yayla Mönch-Buçak (Oldenburg University, Germany), Dr. Mamoud Osman (Kurdish Politician, Great Britain), Jutta Bauer (Book Illustrator, Germany), Günther Schwarberg (Journalist, Germany), Hans Branscheidt (medico international / Appell von Hannover), Germany, Rolf Becker (Actor, IG Medien (Media Union), Germany)