Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stands in solidarity with Ayşe Düzkan, Palestine solidarity organizer, feminist and journalist, writer and editor in Turkey. Ayşe is a strong supporter of Palestinian political prisoners and the Palestinian people’s struggle overall as a founding member of BDS Turkey. As an editor and journalist, she has worked to highlight the cases of the dozens of Palestinian journalists imprisoned by the Israeli occupation for their commitment to showing and telling the truth of the stories of their people. She is one of multiple journalists facing persecution by the Turkish government for their solidarity action with banned newspaper Özgür Gündem.

On Tuesday, 16 January, Ayşe was sentenced to one year and six months in prison after her trial; she is currently free on bond pending appeal. She is not alone but is one of a large number of journalists facing persecution for their solidarity and action for human rights and people’s struggles. Samidoun is reprinting below the statement of BDS Turkey. We express our full solidarity with Ayşe Düzkan and all political prisoners in Turkish jails and demand their immediate release and an end to the persecution and repression of journalists and writers.

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Ayşe was part of the “Co-Editorship-in-Chief” campaign launched on 3 May 2016 – World Press Freedom Day – in order to stand in solidarity with Özgür Gündem newspaper, ordered closed on 16 August 2016 by a judge’s order that “the newspaper has been constantly making propaganda of the PKK terrorist organization and has acted like a publication organ of this organization.” A statutory decree on 29 October 2016 closed the paper completely.

The “Co-Editorship-in-Chief” campaign enlisted 56 intellectuals, artists, writers, politicians and journalists to serve as honorary co-editors-in-chief of the newspaper between May and August 2016 as the ban on the publication loomed. After the campaign, investigations were opened into 50 participants and charges were filed against 38 of the campaigners, including Ayşe.

Ayşe, along with Huseyin Bektas, Mehmet Ali Celebi and Ragip Duran, was sentenced to one year and six months in prison on charges of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization,” while journalist Huseyin Aykol was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison by Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No.13.

The history of Özgür Gündem is one of repression; founded in 1992, 89 employees of the publication were killed on duty. Its buildings have been bombed and its employees and managers repeatedly imprisoned.

The journalists and activists targeted in this latest repressive campaign are among thousands of Turkish and Kurdish political prisoners and detainees targeted for arrest, charges and imprisonment by the Turkish government over the past two years.

The statement of BDS Turkey follows:

Call for dismissal of imprisonment decision against BDS member Ayşe Düzkan

Ayşe Düzkan, one of the founding members of BDS Turkey – a part of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement – editor of Güldünya Publications and journalist, who has been prosecuted for solidarity activities with Özgür Gündem against its banning, has been sentenced to 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment after her trial on 16th January 2018.

Düzkan was put on trial because she defends freedom of speech and she shows peaceful solidarity with the rights of self-determination of people. The decision ordering her imprisonment reminds us of Israel’s acts which the people of Palestine know very well. Ayşe is a journalist, a friend of the people of Palestine and an active participant in the international solidarity movement with Palestine, and it is unacceptable that she is subjected to the oppressive policies against which she strongly defends Palestinian journalists.

The criminalization of ideas, journalists and articles is a very well-known experience for the people of Palestine, as this tactic is constantly used by the Israeli state. Today, there are 24 Palestinian journalist prisoners in Israeli jails.

On behalf of BDS Turkey, we demand the dismissal of the decision taken against Ayşe Düzkan who has always worked to achieve the Palestinian people’s right to self determination, the freedom of Palestinian journalists and a free Palestine.

16th January 2018

BDS Turkey