Socialist Worker

Activist Chris Stephenson deported from Turkey amid growing state crackdown

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2495

A rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) last year. Its MPs may now face jail

A rally of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) last year. Its MPs may now face jail (Pic: Salih Turan (VOA))


SOCIALIST ACTIVIST Chris Stephenson has been deported from Turkey to Britain. He is a victim of the crackdown launched by the state as part of its murderous war against the Kurds. Chris arrived in London last night, Wednesday.

He had been detained by the police when he went to court to support fellow-signatories of an Academics For Peace appeal. It called for a non-violent settlement of the Kurdish question.

The three—Kivanc Ersoy, Esra Mungan and Muzaffer Kaya—are now in prison.

Chris was held by police, taken to an administrative hearing that ordered his deportation, and later put on a plane to London.

He is appealing against deportation.

Just over a year ago Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan broke off a peace process with the forces fighting for the national rights of the country’s Kurdish minority.

Since then he has accelerated a brutal war designed to eliminate Kurdish resistance. Over 50 round-the-clock curfews have been imposed by the central government on Kurdish-majority communities—in some places for the last three months.

Gunships

The government has used tanks, artillery, and helicopter gunships to destroy whole sections of cities and cut off supplies of electricity, water and gas.

Opposition parties and human rights groups have recently said that the attacks have forced 200,000 Kurdish civilians to leave their homes. Hundreds of people have died.

Last Sunday a horrific bombing in the capital Ankara killed 37 people and injured at least 125 more. It has allegedly been claimed by a Kurdish group in retaliation for the attacks.

Whatever the truth about the bomb, Erdogan has seized on it to step up his repression. He has called for redefining terrorism saying that people are "Either on our side, or on the side of the terrorists," addingthat there was no difference between a terrorist holding a gun or a bomb and those who use their position and pen to serve the aims" of terrorists.

An activist in Turkey told Socialist Worker, "The regime is using fear and intimidation to batter down opposition. We are calling for solidarity from the people of Europe. We know we will get nothing from the leaders."

Erdogan's ruling AKP party is pushing through parliament the lifting of the immunity from prosecution of at least six MPs from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

These include the party’s co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag. The main opposition party, the CHP, supports the lifting of the immunities.

Once the immunities have gone, the HDP MPs are likely to be prosecuted, and jailed. Erdogan is replaying the history of the 1990s when a war between the state and the Kurds saw tens of thousands killed. Kurdish MPs had their immunities removed and were each jailed for 15 years.

None of this solved the issue of Kurdish rights, and only a just settlement of the Kurdish issue can bring peace now.

Erdogan glories in his support from the Eueopean Union (EU). He knows Turkey is crucial in implementing the anti-refugee plans that EU leaders want to enforce.

Disgracefully the EU therefore covers up Turkey’s crimes.

Please protest to the office of the Turkish president contact@tccb.gov.tr Sign the petition against the persecution of Academics for Peace at https://www.change.org/p/international-community-and-elected-representatives-stop-the-persecution-of-academics-for-peace-in-turkey Be part of the British campaign against the war on the Kurds, go to stopwaronkurds.org

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