AYF CALLS ON COMMUNITY TO PROTEST TURKEY'S MURDEROUS POLICIES
15 hours ago 17/12/15
A protest will take place on Saturday at the Turkish Consulate General
of Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES-On Saturday December 19, Kurds, Armenians, and
all defenders of human rights will come together to protest
the assassination of Tahir Elci, and support the struggle for
self-determination and peace that he represented.
The protest, organized by the Rojava Solidarity Committee of Los
Angeles and the Armenian Youth Federation, will also demand justice
for assassinations on Armenian community members such as Hrant Dink
and Sevag Balikci, as well as other victims of Turkish State violence
on minorities who struggle for freedom.
Elci was the president of the Diyarbakir Bar Association and one
of the most prominent Kurdish lawyers and human rights defenders in
Turkey. He was shot dead with a single bullet to the back of his head
on November 28th, 2015. Tahir Elci died as he finished delivering a
speech calling for an end to the ongoing state violence against the
Kurdish towns. The bullet that killed him came from the direction of
Turkish police who had started a gun battle with unknown men.
Elci was under threat from the AKP's government (the AKP is the ruling
party in Turkey) because on October 14th he went on television and
declared that "the PKK is not a terrorist organization." For this
he was arrested and charged with spreading 'terrorist' propaganda, a
crime that is punishable with a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence.
Tahir Elci was released pending his trial but was placed under judicial
supervision. During this time he was subject to many death threats
for his statement.
Elci is not alone in his fate - every day now Kurds are being murdered
by the AKP across the country's southeast. Cities are being placed
under siege by the military, power and electricity cut off, snipers
shooting randomly from minarets, helicopters dropping bombs on houses,
tanks blockading all the roads - a situation of total war against the
Kurdish people. These assaults come from the same ideology and state
structure that years ago on the same land carried out the Armenian
and Assyrian Genocides, and from the same guns that more recently
murdered the Armenian journalist and human rights defender Hrant Dink.
Elci was part of a strong movement to end that murderous racist and
nationalist state ideology, and to silence those guns. He relentlessly
represented victims and their families against the Turkish state in
cases of political murders, extrajudicial killings, and burning down of
villages. On December 28, 2011, Turkish warplanes bombed and killed 34
Kurds in Roboski, of whom 17 were children. Elci was one of the lawyers
representing the Roboski victims' families. Most recently, after years
of fighting, he won the case of the 38 people who were massacred in
Å~^Ä±rnak in 1994. Thanks to him, many cases of forced disappearances,
bombings, and torture that had been delayed or ended with impunity were
reopened. Elci did not just work for the rights of Kurdish people -
he fought for the freedom of all oppressed peoples, recently working
for justice with the family of Sevag BalÄ±kcÄ±, an Armenian soldier
in Turkey's military who was murdered in a hate crime on April 24,
2011, the day Armenians demand justice for the Armenian Genocide.
We are coming together to honor his memory and to support the movement
that carries on his work, struggling for freedom for all ethnicities,
genders, sexualities, and religions in Turkey and the Middle East.
Below are a list of demands:
"We demand a fair and independent investigation of the death of
We demand a fair and independent investigation of the death of Hrant
Dink, Sevag Balikci, and all other minority hate crimes in Turkey.
We call on the Turkish government to stop carrying out these massacres
of minorities - lift the sieges on Kurdish cities, stop the bombing
of guerilla camps, and stop supporting terror groups in Syria.
We call on the US government to stop its support of the Turkish
government - ban all arms sales to the AKP government, lift the ban
on the PKK, and suspend Turkey from NATO."